Celent Model Bank Frequently Asked Questions


What is Celent Model Bank?

Model Bank is the main award that a financial institution (FI) can win from Celent. It is awarded for best practices of technology usage in different areas critical to success in banking.

What is Celent Innovation and Insight Day?

Innovation and Insight (I&I) Day is Celent’s flagship annual event, typically held in spring on the East Coast of the United States. It is a one-day program focused on disruptive technology in banking with bankers at the center of the event. It includes:

  • A celebration of the winning initiatives, including presentation of Model Bank awards on stage.
  • Keynote speeches from industry leaders, academics, and Celent analysts.
  • Multiple opportunities to network with industry peers.

In 2017, I&I Day was held on April 4 in the State Room in Boston, Massachusetts. In 2015, I&I Day was held at Carnegie Hall in New York, while in 2016, we took over the Museum of American Finance. The events in recent years have sold out. Model Bank Award winners receive two complimentary tickets to attend I&I Day.

How does the Model Bank program work?

Celent’s Model Bank Program seeks examples of best practices in technology usage in different areas critical to success in banking. Every year we suggest five to eight categories and invite banks to nominate their technology initiatives. We review all nominations and recognise a number of them with a Model Bank Award. Each year we present up to 15-20 awards.

In 2017, Celent introduced specific named awards with a single winner for each award. Celent reserves the right to revisit the awards during the judging process and there is no guarantee that the awards will be same in the future years as in the past. We also reserve the right to introduce additional awards. For example:

  • In 2013, we found a small number of initiatives noteworthy not only for their innovation but also for their simplicity. We asked “Why isn’t everyone doing this?” and decided to introduce a new award category for that year only, the Celent Impact Award, honouring projects that were comparatively easy and low cost, yet offered a considerable boon to business outcomes.
  • In 2016, we acknowledged two technology companies with Celent Model Bank Vendor awards designed to recognize a vendor’s crucial role in helping clients achieve their business objectives through the use of technology or implementation excellence.

What is Model Bank of the Year?

Since 2012, we have been recognising one initiative every year as the overall Model Bank of the Year, the top honour. Model Bank of the Year is not a specific category and banks do not nominate themselves for this award. Instead, Celent judges select one initiative from those already submitted.

There are no specific criteria for Model Bank of the Year. However, typically, the winning initiatives deliver impressive business benefits to the FI, while also exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics:

  • A radically different (or a step change from the existing) technology platform and operating model (e.g. Fidor Bank).
  • A transformation of the institution’s capability to innovate (e.g. Eastern Bank).
  • The creation of a lasting social impact (e.g. Commercial Bank of Africa’s m-Shwari initiative)
  • A stand out from the crowd and uniformly impress Celent judges.

Why should I consider applying?

We appreciate that submitting a high quality nomination takes quite a bit of effort. However, being recognised as a Model Bank is great PR for both the financial institution and associated individuals. The FIs tell us they view Celent Model Bank as a distinctly prestigious award. The awards are focused on banking, yet span a full spectrum of technology initiatives rather than being narrowly focused on one (e.g., mobile). Competition is global and fierce, and the selection process is rigorous. Award winners are in great company and are proud of such association. Past winners include banks and credit unions across the asset tier spectrum from all parts of the globe, such as Barclays, Citi, Commercial Bank of Africa, Credit Union Australia, Mashreq Bank, mBank, Scotiabank, US Bank, USAA, and many others.

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