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FBN Bank (UK) Limited







www.f bnba n k. co. u k


Santiago Castro, Chief Data Officer of FBN Bank UK, tells us that by harnessing banking tech, his team is working better this year than ever


n the business world in 2020, as in all parts of life in this most testing of years, we all seem to be ‘looking for the posi-

tives’. It is clear that positivity to Santiago Castro, Chief Data Officer of First Bank of Nigeria UK, is not an empty buzzword, but something that comes 04

naturally. Positivity is something that Castro has in spades – and, as we learn during a wide-ranging and animated interview, it has been the driving force behind FBN Bank’s success in recent years.

THE THREAT OF COVID-19 TO THE BANKING SECTOR Castro’s optimism is on show when the conversation turns to the turbulence of the last five months. When he says that the Covid-19 pandemic has forced FBN Bank to adapt to a new reality, he adds that this has been welcome. “These challenges have allowed us to learn, and to eliminate the ways in which we are inefficient. This allows us to do more of what we are doing well, and actually to learn and evolve. Being under stress has allowed us to push our boundaries”.


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“If you don’t push yourself, you don’t learn. This is how our team felt at the beginning. It was difficult, it was challenging – but now they are not just doing it; they are enjoying it” — Santiago Castro, Chief Data Officer, FBN Bank UK 06

Discussing how the coronavirus crisis will change the banking sector in the long-term, Castro is similarly bullish: “The future is going to be different to what we used to. There is no doubt we are not coming back to what we had. But if we take the opportunity to eliminate our inefficiencies, we can learn, we can become much more collaborative, and much more data and technology driven”.

HARNESSING NEXT-GENERATION TECHNOLOGY Castro joined FBN Bank two years ago, tempted by an ambitious new project after a successful 17-year career in consulting. He was tasked with overseeing the bank’s digital transformation, at a time when adopting the latest technologies was becoming ever more crucial for the finance

Digitising FBN banks operations CLICK TO WATCH



07 industry. In light of what has happened

customer experience to our institu-

to in-person banking in 2020, making

tional clients in the UK and Europe.

sure that FBN’s remote banking keeps

As Castro talks about spinning

its clients happy is now a matter of life

various unfamiliar plates – AI machine

and death for the organisation.

learning, cloud systems, 5G, automa-

With the investments made in

tion, data analytics – with the margins

Oracle’s next-generation banking

for error shrinking by the day, his

solution, FBN Bank is now at the

innate positivity shines through once

forefront of payment innovation.

more. “Before you needed to create

With an ISO20022 based data model,

the data warehouses, for people to

SWIFT gpi, PSD2 and open banking

self-serve. Now we have intelligent

technology leadership, modern tech-

algorithms, machine learning, like an

nology architecture, and machine

enterprise Google Search function-

learning for STP improvements,

ality Io-Tahoe, where our business

FBN is now able to offer a superior

users can search for the type of data www.f bnba n k. co. u k

Oracle Financial Services and FBN Bank UK:

A Partnership for Next Generation Banking with a Modern Core and Future Ready Applications Powered with a modern digital core & UK Open Banking APIs, FBN Bank UK invests in delivering next generation corporate, institutional & private banking services in the UK. FBN Bank UK, an international bank that facilitates trade between Europe and Africa, embarked on a core modernization journey to achieve business e�ciencies via automation, gain competitive advantage and resilience, and to become a pervasive, innovative bank. The bank upgraded its Oracle FLEXCUBE Core Banking system, introduced a new work�ow from Oracle, revamped its online banking system, and launched its mobile app, all within 9 months.

compliance. With Oracle’s best in class Digital Experience and a modern open API centric digital platform, FBN UK, is able to deliver a consistent and an enriched digital experience to its private banking and corporate clients across Europe and Africa. Oracle’s open platform has also set a stage for the bank to take advantage of applications that can create e�ciencies.

The upgrade brought forth immense opportunities to digitize and innovate operations, while improving security and

Oracle Financial Services

CONNECT WITH US oracle.com/fs

Oracle helps �nancial institutions with market-leading, industry-recognized solutions that leverage latest cu�ing-edge technologies to help them become more responsive, agile, collaborative, insightful and compliant in what they do.


Learn more at oracle.com/banking




Santiago Castro Title: Chief Data Officer

Company: FBN Bank (UK) Limited

Industry: Banking

Location: London, UK

Santiago joined FBNUK in 2018 and has been in charge of directing and overseeing the digital transformation of the Bank delivering a robust data governance, and information management and automation of the Bank’s processes and services. He is also providing data, technology & business leadership to facilitate cultural change, communicating with diverse teams to take projects from start to finish by aligning people, processes and technology into one integrated vision. He has delivered several technology projects, supporting business governance with data and better reporting, creating automated risk management controls, and improving transaction monitoring analysis to ensure compliance. Before joining the Bank, Santiago worked in various consulting firms for numerous clients in finance, insurance and other industries. He has 19 years’ experience in providing business leadership and overseeing transformational change, working in management consulting and stakeholder engagement. In addition, he has overseen extensive technology implementations, change management and project oversight. Santiago has experience in communication focused on successful delivery, technical excellence and user adoption while developing relationships with diverse partners and clients. Santiago holds a Master in Decision Sciences from the London School of Economics.

www.f bnba n k. co. u k




“It’s about being competitive and resilient. As you become efficient, you also become more resilient” — Santiago Castro, Chief Data Officer, FBN Bank UK


Managing challenges within the workplace culture CLICK TO WATCH



www.f bnba n k. co. u k

Increase the visibility of unstructured data.

Improve security, efficiency, and regulatory compliance. Streamline data migration

Apply rich media analysis

Manage regulatory compliance

Respond to DSARs

Discover sensitive data

Clean up ROT data

Discover more ›

“Augmented intelligence is bringing in technology as an ally. I think that is kind of my style: it’s really about helping people, empowering them to realise their own capabilities” — Santiago Castro, Chief Data Officer, FBN Bank UK

example, automation. In bringing in machines as an ally to our people, we have created a lot of automation that has helped us to actually reduce

that they need. They can now leave

time on dealing with repetitive types

the machine to go discover the data

of tasks, and in doing so becoming

for them, which gives them more time

more efficient”.

for other things”. Of all the technological solutions


that FBN Bank has introduced, Castro

A topic that Castro keeps coming

is most keen to credit automation

back to is resilience; being prepared

and machine learning for improv-

for all scenarios. Under his leader-

ing efficiency. “Technology is key

ship, FBN Bank had the foresight to

because it allows us to collaborate

invest in digital solutions that enable

more. Now we can share the same

and simplify remote banking for its

data platforms, where we all interact.

clients – and remote working for its

With a little automation, we can actually communicate and help each other more easily”. In many companies, staff see automation at best as a hindrance, at worst as a threat; but at FBN, it creates harmony. As Castro puts it: “A lot is about trying to realise efficiency gains, trying to empower our employees to do more with, for www.f bnba n k. co. u k



staff – before the coronavirus outbreak

yourself, you don’t learn. This is how our

forced consumers and employees out

team felt at the beginning. It was difficult,

of physical banks. Castro recognises

it was challenging – but now they are not

that the banking sector as a whole was

just doing it; they are enjoying it”. Castro

much better prepared for this situation

continues the metaphor: “Flexibility and

than it would have been five years ago.

collaboration only work because we

Becoming efficient five years ago has

empower our people with technology,

allowed them to be resilient today:

and with the right skills, to be able

“It’s about being competitive and

to always learn and jump in and help

resilient. As you become efficient,

their colleagues”.

you also become more resilient”. He illustrates the point with a meta14

The biggest factor in the digital journey is the total commitment of top

phor. “Actually it’s a little bit like when

management. After this is invest-

you want to learn to swim. You need

ment in the right technology. Unless

to jump in the water. If you don’t push

the team owns and understands the

How FBN Bank creates a smart team CLICK TO WATCH



“Being under stress has allowed us to push our boundaries” — Santiago Castro, Chief Data Officer, FBN Bank UK

because the fintech startups that are born into next-generation technology are already comfortable with this completely new model”. FBN is at the forefront of digital technology. Its core banking technology partners have enabled the

technology and its benefits, they will

bank to deliver superior corporate

face hurdles in its implementation and

banking services that leverage

the outcome will be sub-optimal.

best of breed technology, such as

He also acknowledges that in the

microservices architecture, API first

banking world, companies pay a

approach, machine learning and

heavy price for standing too long

Artificial Intelligence.

on the diving board. “Now, if you stop, you will be left behind. And that’s kind of what has happened to the very big established companies. Their life expectancy used to be hundreds of years – now it’s 20 to 30, www.f bnba n k. co. u k


FBN BANK (UK) LIMITED 28 FINSBURY CIRCUS, LONDON EC2M7DT T 0207 920 4920 www.fbnbank.co.uk


Profile for Business Chief Europe

FBN Bank October 2020  

FBN Bank October 2020