Jean de Crane
Jean de Crane CEO

A quarter of a century on the front line of fintech

Isabel Group is ready to write a new chapter

A Belgian success story: perhaps that is the best way to sum up the first 25 years of our company’s existence. We have grown from a pioneering fintech start-up launched in 1995 into the largest fintech group in Belgium. We already have many great milestones to look back on. At the same time, we continue to focus resolutely on the future, where we see ourselves as an independent contributor, playing a key role in building bridges between all the essential links in the financial value chain. As you can see, we are certainly not short of ambition for the 25 years to come!

Companies know us best as the safest multi-bank platform in Belgium. And that comes as no surprise, since an impressive 70,000 professional users at 50,000 business clients currently make payments with Isabel 6, our flagship product for corporate internet banking. This digital platform allows users to track and manage their payments with 26 of our banking partners in complete security, giving our customers an overview of all their accounts with all their banks at a glance. In the meantime, a successor to that popular payment platform is already available. Seven makes online banking for companies even more user-friendly and international.

Consumers are probably more familiar with Zoomit, our free electronic invoicing service for private individuals. More than one and a half million users are already using Zoomit to receive their invoices, payslips, credit card statements and other financial documents digitally and pay them in one go through their online banking facilities. As such, the platform also allows banks to offer their customers additional services.

Step it up a notch

Leading innovative solutions such as Isabel and Zoomit soon made a name for us as a high-tech pioneer. Those early days are far behind us now. We put Zoomit on the market in 2007. And the launch of Isabel, our multi-banking platform, goes all the way back to 1995.

Since 2015, we’ve stepped up a notch in terms of diversification. The acquisitions of CodaBox (2016), Ibanity (2017) and ClearFacts (2018), which occurred in quick succession, allowed us to strengthen our offer for accounting firms first. Last year, we provided additional services to our business clients through Ponto and SignHere. And we have more important launches planned for the years ahead, including the new business identity digital platform TruliUs and KUBE, the blockchain application used by Belfius, BNP Paribas Fortis, ING Belgium and KBC – in collaboration with Isabel Group – to share details of businesses in the context of the ‘Know Your Customer’ process.

Procure-to-pay

This pursuit of diversification has not prevented us from always focusing on the essence. Traditionally, the financial world has been a complex, strictly regulated environment in which trust takes centre stage. In such an environment, security and privacy are not empty promises; they must be guaranteed at all times. Procedures are there to be followed throughout, at all times.

Since the introduction of information technology in the second half of the last century, an extra layer of complexity has come into play: the different generations of computer systems and the new or ever-changing standards and interfaces that are needed to link up all those systems properly. This new technology, which was initially introduced to automate and speed up financial processes or transactions in all their complexity, ironically also came with its own complexity and challenges.

It has always been our mission to get the most out of these interactions to allow our customers to focus fully on the core challenges of their business. It goes without saying that we respect the strict procedures imposed by the financial sector itself and by the different regulators, particularly with regard to compliance, security and privacy. At first, we focused exclusively on the payment process, with more than convincing results. Today, our portfolio covers the entire financial procurement chain: from contracting, invoicing, booking and payment to monitoring and analysis. For a long time now, we have focused on more than payment management alone: document and identity management are also becoming increasingly important.

A house with many rooms

In the years it has taken us to get to this point, our mission has remained unchanged. Only its scope has grown. The result? More customers than ever can now count on us to streamline more and more of their financial processes so that they can focus on their core business better than ever.

Meanwhile, our company has also grown into a real group with more than 300 experts. You could compare it to a house with many rooms that can accommodate a wide range of guests. Consumers, small and large companies, accounting firms, banks and governments: they all count on us to remove annoying obstacles and potential stumbling blocks on their way to success. We will do everything in our power to accommodate them over the next 25 years as well, and we will continue to bridge the gap, building bridges as it were, with more focus and less friction.

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