For the first time, the Education Management department of Frankfurt School of Finance & Management partnered with the BANKFACHKLASSE Award competition. The actual awards – sponsored by professional development magazine Bankfachklasse – were presented on the Frankfurt School campus on May 29.
Working in teams, trainees from various banks had been asked to develop a digital solution that combined banking, their respective training institutions, and some kind of community or social involvement. Each project team, consisting of four to six trainees, presented their strategic objective together with a concept and an outline of their proposed digital solution. Annett Holz, who works at Frankfurt School as an Advisor in the Continuing Education and Training unit, was one of the jurors tasked with assessing their ideas. The subsequent awards ceremony showcased the four best and most creative projects.
Wolfgang Weicht, Digital & Innovation Officer at Frankfurt School, encouraged the young people not to shy away from making changes, even if this meant tackling unexpected challenges and hurdles. Jochen Steinmetz, Relationship Manager at Frankfurt School, focused the trainees’ awareness on the careers they could expect after finishing their training, encouraging them to develop and apply their own criteria and values to their future personal and professional development.
Where an individual struggles, a team prevails – Volksbank eG Gera-Jena-Rudolstadt
Six trainees developed an online platform for bringing together individuals and groups and offering help in all spheres of life to all levels of society. The aim is to support those in need while giving associations the opportunity to present social projects in any and all business sectors and areas of interest. In devising their concept, the trainees were guided by their bank’s traditional, community-oriented values, developing a tool for presenting projects on the bank’s website that anybody could sponsor. The young people emphasised that the project is not just about attracting anonymous donations – it also highlights the campaigns used by institutions to promote their own charitable activities, with the aim of interesting young people on social media platforms in community involvement and banking.
VR-Spenoki – Raiffeisenbank Holzkirchen-Otterfing eG
The name of this inventive project is based on a creative verbal contraction. Four trainees developed an innovative solution that acts as a bridge between banking and social engagement: an app for making donations. Their solution, Spenoki (“Spen” from the German words “Spende”, meaning donations, and “(H)oki”, youth slang for Holzkirchen, a town in Bavaria), is freely available to anybody who registers by e-mail. When making a donation, users can choose one of several categories: People, Environment or Regional. The projects benefiting from the donations are chosen by the bank in collaboration with various specialist institutions. The app aims to offer local residents the opportunity to turn the region into a welcoming community through their social engagement. Effectively, individuals are encouraged to improve the quality of life of local residents whether or not they are in immediate need of help, because this app is clearly focused on bringing people together.
S-Guide app – Sparkasse Herford
An app that goes far beyond mere refugee integration, this project by six trainees offers customised support and help to asylum seekers as well as other savings-bank customers who are having difficulties with general banking services. To be able to live their own lives in relative independence, people need language skills and simple explanations of potential obstacles. To provide this help, the team designed a multilingual user interface optimised for the smartphones almost everybody uses everywhere. For example, users can call up explanations of ATMs and other self-service terminals in bank branches – and in the future, the team is intending to add up-to-date information on the more technical aspects of banking. The trainees also prioritised a user-friendly look and feel, as well as a “Help Needed and Offered” feature that encourages community involvement.
DeiNE-Crowd.de – Volksbank Düsseldorf Neuss eG
Aiming to play a more engaged role in their local community, four trainees set up a crowd donating platform in the region serviced by their bank designed specifically to help children and young people. In one crowd-funding category, the digital banking solution makes it possible to pool sponsorship projects, following best community practice and in the spirit of helping people to help themselves. While support that specifically targets children and young people is important, equally important is ensuring that they are not forgotten after the campaign is over. So another of the platform’s key objectives is to help them engage with job-related and financial issues as they grow older, and to build their skills in these areas. Other projects supported by the platform offer local clubs and institutions the opportunity to showcase their own goals and visions and encourage people to become involved in their activities.
#allewarensuper and #jetztwirdgefeiert (#theywereallsuper and #timetocelebrate)
“I am sure everybody involved in this project at Frankfurt School will take away vivid memories,” said Annett Holz, who was in charge of the project at the business school. “We were delighted to welcome the trainees, their educators and our partners, and have been especially impressed by just how convinced and convincing the trainees were – convinced by the underlying idea, convincing as a group.”
It was clearly apparent that the trainees had started with a meticulous analysis of political and social situations and thoroughly absorbed the implications before embarking on their projects. Accordingly, their projects all reflect a society in the throes of transformation – without, however, neglecting basic ideals. Each group designed their concept from multiple perspectives – of the people in need of help, of the people providing help, of the young and media-literate target audience, and of older generations of bank customers.
Above all, the young people in each team were bound together by a strong sense of community. This meant they were able to present their ideas with enormous enthusiasm, both to the external audience in the auditorium and to the committees at their respective banks. They are all continuing to manage and develop their projects on their own initiative, demonstrating a level of responsibility that extends far beyond any purely career-related commitment.
Our warmest congratulations to all!