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We’re creating an ecosystem for the whole family

Johan Öbrink, Digital Strategist, and Rebecca Stenbeck, Project Manager and Business Owner for Neo
SEB Neo is a financial app with educational elements designed to suit the whole family, explains Johan Öbrink and Rebecca Stenbeck, who are involved in driving the project forward.

Instead of getting money in the piggy bank, more and more parents lend out their credit cards, which means that many children never get the opportunity to learn about finances in today’s cashless society. To meet these changing needs, SEB Neo was created – a financial app with educational elements designed to suit the whole family, explains Johan Öbrink and Rebecca Stenbeck, who are involved in driving the project forward. 

Rebecca Stenbeck works in Exploratory Banking & Partnerships within C&PC, which owns the initiative. As a Project Manager and Business Owner for Neo, she has overall responsibility for the project and makes sure that the team has the right tools to deliver from a business, customer experience and technical perspective. 

“Many of today's parents don’t have a good understanding of their child's finances or how this relates to the family's finances at large. With Neo, parents and children will be able to collaborate on the same app, but with different user interfaces to get a better understanding of this. The app is also meant to grow with the child and can be modified based on their changing needs”, Rebecca explains. 

Johan Öbrink worked as a Product Manager for Neo before recently taking on the role of Digital Strategist, where he works with issues concerning Neo’s overall mission, such as creating the next generation of mobile apps. 

“Neo’s ambition is not only to build a bank, but rather an entire family offer that enables independence and invites children to take more responsibility for their own money”, says Johan. 

New ways of working

Previous to this, SEB has outsourced all production of mobile apps to external suppliers. Something that sets Neo apart is therefore that it's the first app built solely by a team within the bank, which brings the opportunity to explore new technology and new ways of working. 

“Neo is one of SEB’s first projects that is completely cloud native. We’re building it with a hybrid framework to make the app accessible for iOS and Android at the same time. We’re also working with fully automated integration tests and deployment chains which enables us to release new pilot versions more often. That way we can talk to customers and quickly act based upon their suggestions and opinions, Johan explains. 

Rebecca continues: “We have also chosen to involve customers at an early stage in the product development process, which is especially important as we’re dealing with a completely new customer segment. Since December of last year, we have had a pilot with about 60 people, both children and parents, who are trying out the app with fake data. By continuously doing releases we can receive feedback early on and build new prototypes based on that. Because our team works very closely with development and design, we have very tight feedback loops.”

How far have you come, and what is the next step? 

“Though we have a fully working app, it’s currently not connected to a bank. This is because we have chosen to build the platform based on SEB’s regular bank services, which aren’t yet available from Google Cloud Platform. So in the meantime, we have built a type of ‘fake bank’ that the pilot can use based on the specifics for the APIs. That way we can keep developing Neo without actually having access to the bank's services. All flows work as they should, except for the fact that the app doesn’t contain real money. However, that has actually made it a lot easier for our customers to try out the platform. In the future, we will be able to use this same technique when building other products and services”, Johan explains. 

“The next milestone for Neo is to do an MVP release with real transaction data and for a smaller number of live customers. Looking forward, we will keep scaling up, both in terms of the number of users and age groups, so that we can become SEB’s next family offer”, Rebecca says. 

Neo is one of many ongoing projects that constantly breaks new ground and drives change within SEB by exploring new technology and capabilities. 

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