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Elias Ghanem: Empathy and credibility

Publish date: 27 November 2018
Author: Capgemini

Elias Ghanem, VP, Chief New Technologies Officer and fintech lead, Financial Services Europe at Capgemini, discusses the importance of empathy in banking, and how fintech startups can build credibility.

Elias Ghanem’s enthusiasm is palpable as he describes his role as orchestrator of a customer experience symphony. “To make this customer experience, you need an orchestrator that will take a little of this, a little of that – shut up, make it work, move on – and combining all this, voila! You have the right symphony, the right customer experience; you win the heart, you win the money of the client,” he says.

Empathy is the keynote that sets the tone for this symphony. “Let them feel that ‘you are the right person I want to engage with’,” Ghanem says. “I’m not here to sell you a product. You come to me with a problem, you come to me with a need. Well, my job as a banker is to give you a hug and make sure that you leave with the right solution.”

Ghanem recounts how, having left a large organization to create a start-up, he faced the challenge of building credibility. “I used to work for a large organization, and each time I would go to the room the reputation of the organization could help me build credibility,” he says. “One day I decided to become a start-up, and so I entered the same room, but the credibility stayed behind… I had to build the credibility back.”

Ghanem tells how the four questions he repeatedly had to answer – Who the heck are you? Do you have the right financial stability? Is your business growing the right way? Is your technology solid? – now form the basis of Capgemini’s ScaleUp Qualification program for fintechs.

“At Capgemini we decided to answer these four questions, to help start-ups answer these four questions – and if they answered the right way, give them the credibility they lack to go beyond,” says Ghanem. “That’s why we want to give them credibility, we want to give them the stamp, telling them ‘you are a qualified scale-up and now you can go faster in making business’.”

Asked where he sees the financial ecosystem in the next 3-5 years, Ghanem points to the platform. “I see it in a platform,” he says. “I see the first banks that will understand that they don’t need to be owning everything, but they need to be on the rail of every transaction, are the ones who will make it happen.”

This emerging ecosystem brings with it a strong message – “Bank anywhere, but not in a bank” – and an empathetic role for bankers. “I see it in, I’m here to be on your side rather than in front of you,” Ghanem says. “I’m here to anticipate your needs and make sure that when you have a problem, I’m the first one to know about it, so I can get you back home, and you’re happy with your family, and the doctor never sees you – that’s the job of a banker.”