Competition winner:
Hello bank! The Birth of a Mobile Bank

Share this page:
This case won the Outstanding Case Writer: Hot Topic 'Digital Transformation' competition at The Case Centre Awards and Competitions 2015.
The case

Who – the protagonists

Gunter and Tom
Gunter Uytterhoeven, Marketing Director at BNP Paribas Fortis, Tom Kestens, Head of Hello bank! Belgium, and Joris Vanvolsem, Program Manager at BNP Paribas Fortis. All eager to turn Hello bank! into the uncontested leader in mobile banking.


Hello bank! describes its approach to banking in four words: simple, smart, human and safe. It is part of BNP Paribas Group, a European leader in banking, but with strikingly different branding. It was launched as the first 100% digital mobile bank in Europe, offering a fast, easy, always-available mobile and internet banking service.


Hello Bank!

Hello bank! was the first bank of its type to launch on the market, offering a radically different approach: a 100% mobile bank, not simply a mobile app. The thinking behind the initiative was to acquire new customers within a specific target segment while preserving the key relationship between the customer and their banker.

The company was determined to ‘plant a flag’ and be on top of the mobile banking market within three years after launch. The Hello bank! team knew they would need to be constantly revising their approach to accommodate a rapidly changing environment and stay ahead of the competition.


François Villeroy de Galhau, Chief Operating Officer of the, BNP Paribas Group, inaugurated the launch of Hello bank!, the newest retail bank in Europe, on 16 May 2013, saying: ‘Hello bank! offers a fresh approach to banking aimed at all those who are living the mobile experience.’


The bank operates in Belgium, Germany, France and Italy.

Key quote

‘You don’t want to teach young people old ways, like Internet banking.’ – Gunter Uytterhoeven

What next?

Uytterhoeven, Kestens and Vanvolsem agree that Hello bank! is primed to build its success in the next three years. But how can they maintain the momentum and bring a new generation of mobile customers on board? How can they solidify the position of Hello bank!? Is it possible to build strong customer relationships in a mobile environment? And what about key issues such as safeguarding customers’ privacy and security while at the same time staying one step ahead of technological developments?

Interested in finding out more?

Download the case and teaching note

Educators can login to view a free educator preview copy of this case and its teaching note.

Hello bank! The Birth of a Mobile Bank
Ref 315-042-1
Teaching note
Ref 315-042-8

The authors

Steve Muylle and Stijn Viaene Steve Muylle and Stijn Viaene

The authors discuss the main challenges involved in writing a field-based case and why more cases about digital transformation are needed.

Sharing insights

Winning this competition means a lot. It emphasises the importance of using a contemporary, field-based case to underpin the learning of executives by working for and with them, and sharing insights across industries and geographies.

Writing a successful case


To write a successful case, the following steps are important:

  • identify an important strategic challenge for executives
  • identify a company that is in the process of addressing that challenge
  • identify the key decision makers and get them excited about the idea of documenting their efforts as a case
  • involve them deeply in the case development process (via interviews and revisions of the case text)
  • test the case in a classroom setting and invite one of the case protagonists to attend
  • develop the teaching note and integrate relevant academic thinking on the subject
  • finally, release the case and enjoy teaching it! 

Field-based challenges

When writing a field-based case it’s necessary to identify an appropriate company and the key decision-makers within it. Being closely connected to the business through research partnerships and teaching (Masters and MBA projects, executive education assignments) can greatly help with this. Another important challenge is to ensure the key decision-makers realise that a case is not necessarily a public relations initiative, but a didactical tool that will assist students in learning about the topic from an academic perspective.

Digital transformation

hello bank devicesThis case is about an established company launching a very new company to address drastic changes in the marketplace (adoption of mobile technologies, changing customer behavior, increased competitive activity, new entrants from the technology sector), and explores potential synergies between the two companies, within and across four domestic markets in Europe. It addresses how established companies can respond to important shifts in their markets brought about digital technologies.

Further work

Further case work on digital transformations is key as it challenges traditional strategy thinking and is high on the agenda of executives around the globe.

About the authors

Steve Muylle is a Full Professor & Partner at Vlerick Business School and Ghent University.

Stijn Viaene is a Full Professor and Partner at Vlerick Business School and
KU Leuven


View a full list of featured cases