As CEO of Hypothekarbank Lenzburg, computer scientist Marianne Wildi introduced the institute to blockchain. Recent scandals in the crypto scene do not bother her.
Hypothekarbank Lenzburg is not one of those regional banks sometimes described as suffocating. On the contrary, the “Hypi” aims to change the banking system with the blockchain. It has a lot to do with the boss Marianne Wildi do, a computer scientist by training.
Sign of his merits, Hypi, under his leadership, was named “the most digital bank in Switzerland” in 2016. Wildi has worked at the regional bank for more than 35 years and was promoted to CEO in 2010.
No doubt about the blockchain
The 54-year-old remains unimpressed with the turmoil in the crypto sector. As she explained to the “Aargauer Zeitung”, for her crypto – or blockchain – is just a tool to map something: a decentralized database.
The headline-grabbing collapse of crypto exchange FTX Fried Sam Bankman has nothing to do with crypto technology, according to Wildi, but with delicate business practices. An entrepreneur in an unregulated economic zone like the Bahamas is simply not keeping proper books. Such human error has always existed. Or in the words of Wildi: “‘Bschiisse’ can also be done with normal currencies.”
That’s why Wildi wants to stick with the bank’s crypto course. She would like to store security tokens or cryptocurrencies for clients.
Typically, crypto investors would have saved the key, i.e. the private key, on their smartphone. If the device is lost or broken, the key is also lost. It is part of a typical banking task to offer secure storage.
Hypi has already received approval from the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (Finma) for this purpose. In addition, Wildi also wants to enable capital market operations for SMEs, such as capital increases by issuing digital shares or so-called digital registered securities. However, the bank wants to stay away from pure trading because there are enough vendors to do so.
Customer proximity is the asset
Also in the future, the boss of Hypi wants to earn her income from traditional banking in advance, rather than from software development. In the case of banks with a regional or cantonal vocation in particular, the force of innovation does not reside mainly in technology, she believes.
Instead, the strength of these institutes lies in meeting customers and operating branches. According to Wildi, a bank can be surprising, personal and innovative in terms of customer experience or branch design.
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