How German Banks fail on Digital Customer Experience


This week, my co-founder and I moved from San Francisco/ Silicon Valley to Munich Germany. We saw a big opportunity to bridge our experience in Business, Design and Innovation to help German companies meet the digital needs of their customers.

One of the biggest challenges as an English-native speaking entrepreneur is navigating through the cultural, bureaucratic, and legal formalities — everything from Visas, setting up a business, residency, banking, etc.

I was fortunate to have German natives help me through this process. One thing I learned quickly is that everyone has a person for everything, including banking. As a result, I decided to set up my personal and business banking at Hypovereinsbank because of the long-term personal relationships. Otherwise, I would naturally bring my business to a bank that provides English service and ignore the rest.

Feeling insecure with the limited knowledge transfer in all the documents I was signing, I continue to question why such a large company hasn’t made the effort to provide legal documents in English? It’s so simple.

As I begun to set up my Online banking profile, I was confronted by even more customer frustration, again. There was no option for a “language change” to English. My process was a simple “copy + paste” into Google Translate in order to understand how to navigate through the experience.

Point being, I begun to reflect on how many customers Hypovereinsbank was losing (and potentially other German banks) from not taking the initiative to design for their international clients. A project that doesn’t require “real innovation” but simply caring about their customers and customer experience.

We took the initiative and reached out to the folks in charge of innovation and digital transformation. Hopefully, we hear back.

Franzi Sessler