“I created a start-up in an industry where there were already start-ups and many competitors”, Corrado Passera, 65, boasting previous prestigious positions in business, banking and politics talks about his new adventure: Illimity Bank.
Illimity is a digital bank with no branches and based entirely on cloud technology.
But why embark on this adventure? Passera is very lucid: “It is something you do only when you have been on many other adventures and you can enjoy the pleasure of relating to the world while everything is changing.”
To be fair, in banking, in financial services, nothing will be the way it used to be. “The combination of the many digital technologies”, the manager from Como, Italy, continues, “are changing not only how we do things but also what we do. The fact is that there is no limit to competition because certain things can be done by anyone, from Amazon to Google to Facebook. The scenario predicts that soon there will be new winners and new losers.” Additionally, for Passera there is only one great truth to acknowledge: “Whoever wants to keep doing things the old way will crash. The Greats of technology will abuse their position to provide under cost financial services. But above all, ‘new animals’ will be born that will ride the end of the change.”
One is precisely the one imagined by the manager “to give satisfaction to customers and shareholders”. “In any case, there is no start-up that does not come from a need:”, Passera adds, “I am referring to the needs of the many Italian companies that in recent years have encountered obstacles in their relationship with the world of credit. Our motto is ‘to make it useful by being useful’. An adventure born in 2019 and shared by 350 people who have left their jobs to come with us.” No narcissism? “There's also that of course,” the manager smiles.
lllimity Bank, however, somehow continues the trend of his career: “In my background there is the failure of Olivetti, the conversion of Poste Italiane, which with its 200 thousand employees had become a negative metaphor of Italy, and these are the examples of ethics, community and service that inspired me. Illimity is the last stage of this path.”
What moves Passera is simple. “I feel responsible for the community I come from. The idea that there is a responsibility beyond personal and corporate responsibility is beginning to spread. Of course, the first and foremost responsibility of people who have my type job is for the company. But doing good for the community is capital. It does not mean taking away the desire to grow and make profits. But that is not enough. If we want to be leaders, we have to ask ourselves if our company disappears what the community will lose.” And innovation is a great chance.
“Technology combined with skills in this sense is crucial,” Passera concludes, “technology changes the rules of the game but if it is not well interpreted, it fails to realize the social impact needed by the community. At Poste Italiane the arranged combination of technology and training was what made the difference. We came out of the mentality of procedure thanks to this asset. In the banking world, at a time when technology allows you to do things at much lower costs and in a very fast time, radically new scenarios open up.”
In conclusion, to those who ask him how to be a leader, Passera answers with great sincerity: “Leader can be made, it is not necessary to be born one. It is very important to have many different experiences. Within the company, mentorship mechanisms allow for tremendous acceleration.”