Italy’s antitrust authority announced on Thursday that it has initiated an investigation into the manner in which the nation’s largest bank, Intesa Sanpaolo (ISP.MI), transitioned thousands of customers to its innovative mobile-only service, Isybank.
This move comes in response to a series of complaints lodged by the main party in the ruling coalition and a stern warning issued by the central bank. The investigation underscores the digital challenges confronting financial institutions as they endeavor to modernize their IT infrastructure while keeping operational costs in check, reported Reuters.
Isybank, a cloud-based, cost-effective mobile bank, serves as a cornerstone of Intesa CEO Carlo Messina’s long-term strategy to withstand the ever-growing competition from fintech firms. The bank’s strategy emphasizes value-added services like wealth management and insurance.
Italy’s competition watchdog is scrutinizing how Intesa communicated the transition to Isybank to account holders, citing the receipt of over 2,000 complaints. Intesa conveyed the message to customers via a digital notification sent to their online and mobile banking accounts, following a routine approach employed for other bank communications.
However, the regulator has deemed the message “ambiguous and sent in a manner inconsistent with the significance of the matter at hand.”
Numerous Intesa customers expressed grievances, primarily attributing the issue to the summer holiday season, claiming that they became aware of the transition after the deadline to opt for the traditional banking service had passed.
The investigation will delve into the intricacies of this transition process, scrutinizing its transparency and effectiveness in ensuring customers are adequately informed about the shift to Isybank.