Isabel Group is a Belgian company that has been founded in 1995 at the initiative of the major banks, the present shareholders, and that has become the leading provider of multi-bank internet services for professional users in Belgium.
With more than 250 experts, Isabel Group ensures 75,000 users and 30,000 customers including major companies, SMEs, schools, the self-employed, and government agencies are able to choose the best products and services offered by over 25 banks at the best conditions.
The headquarters of Isabel Group are in the centre of Brussels. Isabel Group invest more than a third of its turnover entirely into innovation.
Isabel NV/SA has met the requirements against the ISO/IEC 20000-1 2011 standard. This is a significant achievement for Isabel NV/SA being only the 3rd organization in Belgium (source AMPG) to have achieved certification. This enables us to prove that we are delivering a world class service to our customers, of which we are really proud.
Tel: +32 (0)2 404 03 37
Fax: +32 (0)2 545 17 19
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With over 20 years of experience, Isabel Group wants to be a leading supplier of Belgian solutions and services and to bring the efficiency of the financial value chain - from invoice to payment - to new heights.
We believe that building bridges between all steps of the financial value chain, lowering administrative barriers and driving efficient processes will generate value for individuals, SMEs, corporates and banks.
We want to contribute to a better world with environmental-friendly solutions and more interesting jobs for our users and our employees alike.
Isabel Group want to enhance the efficiency of the financial value chain - from invoice to payment - by eliminating repetitive manual tasks.
Our solutions, Isabel 6 and Zoomit, are designed to help private individuals and business people free up time for more ease working, efficiency and added value.
Isabel Group acquires ibanity and strengthens its position as market reference in the financial and banking eco-system
Brussels, 12 September 2017 - Isabel Group has announced today the acquisition of ibanity (Lockey SPRL), a developer’s oriented start-up specialized in financial services. This acquisition is a strategic move in reaction to PSD2 (European Payments Services Directive) and will reinforce the position of Isabel Group as market reference in the business and banking ecosystem. By joining forces, Isabel Group and ibanity will boost the move towards open banking solutions in Belgium and Europe.
The EU PSD2 Directive will completely change the way banking takes place. Upon request by the client, banks will have to provide access to account information and open up the initiation of payments to thirdparty payment service providers (TPP). While the sector will have to comply with a set of rules, the developers’ community will be able to let its creativity explode by providing a full range of new services.
“The circle is complete”
"We are really happy and excited to welcome ibanity within the group”, says Jean de Crane, CEO of Isabel Group. By acquiring ibanity, we reinforce our position in the market as thought leader of the business and banking eco-system. Isabel Group launched a “full service mode” offering just a couple of months ago, helping banks to address their challenges in PSD2 compliancy and facilitating the interaction with TPPs. Today, Isabel Group is preparing the market to go beyond pure compliancy. The collaboration with ibanity will make it easier for banks to reach out to the “developers’ community” and address their needs through a market infrastructure and connectivity offered by Isabel Group. The circle is now complete”.
The changes brought by PSD2 are perceived at Isabel Group as a source of many opportunities. Even if those changes are likely to disrupt the current market, they will boost the way banking is done. The PSD2 framework makes it possible for developers to come up with new ideas, launch great new services, helping companies and persons to interact with banks in a different way.
Being an established Fintech, Isabel Group interacts - as a trusted and key partner - successfully with banks and companies for more than 20 years now. Through the acquisition of ibanity, Isabel Group will be able to extend the level of quality and innovation to the developers’ community and to create a state of the art environment.
“Integrating with a bank should not take longer than making a cup of coffee”
Marc Lainez, CEO of ibanity: "We received different offers for taking over the company. We chose Isabel Group because with them, we had the feeling there was a real match in terms of vision, go-to-market strategy and added value to the eco-system. Isabel Group is a solid and trustworthy company. They will help us rapidly roll out in Belgium first, then in Europe in a second stage. Our joint expertise should lead to a situation where integrating with any bank doesn’t take longer than making a cup of coffee.”
“The missing link between the stakeholders”
"Thanks to the opportunities brought by PSD2 and by joining the expertise of Isabel Group and ibanity, we are best placed to boost the way to open banking for all the stakeholders in the eco-system”, says Jean de Crane. “This initiative is really the missing link between banks, software developers and clients. It will help us to provide real added value service to clients help the banks to make the best out of PSD2 and provide the TPP’s and developers’ community with the ideal conditions to let their ideas flourish”.
This operation helps Isabel Group to better understand TPP’s view on the eco-system and gain in agility, while ibanity will benefit from the solidity and sound reputation of Isabel Group. “I’m convinced that the outcome of this operation will generate tremendous added value to the entire eco-system and will reposition Isabel Group at the edge of financial technologies”, says Jean de Crane.
Isabel Group launches a new "API HUB" service designed to enable the Belgian banking sector, or any bank operating in Europe, to meet the requirements of the European Payments Services Directive (PSD2). Specifically, any authorised company wishing to develop associated services around payment initiation and/or account information will have standardised access to bank accounts. Moreover, the modular nature of the solution allows banks to consider moving towards "open banking" at their own pace.
The EU PSD2 Directive will shake up the world of payments by making access to bank accounts compulsory under fairly strict conditions. This access will be provided via an Application Programming Interface (API). Any certified company, technically known as a third-party payment service provider (TPP), will be able to ask the banks for access to accounts for the purpose of providing various associated services around payment initiation and/or account information.
Changes and instability in prospect: Isabel Group’s response
Banks will face many varied requests, while having to guarantee that these requests will be carried out properly under optimal security conditions. Moreover, the European Commission has yet to specify the regulatory framework. The final text should be available this summer. From that date, the sector will have 18 months to comply. The deadline for making the texts applicable in the legislation of the EU Member States is 13 January 2018.
The sector will have to face these profound changes. Isabel Group, a leading provider of payment services for more than 20 years, is helping the Belgian banking sector, or any bank operating in Europe, to overcome these uncertainties. Its new "API HUB" service is an original, modular, secure and innovative solution. It is compatible with the EU PSD2 rules and is subject to prior approval and continuous supervision by competent authorities. This solution also standardises access to accounts and provides the necessary developments for all interested third-party payment service providers (TPPs).
Jean de Crane, CEO of Isabel Group: "The main feature of this service offering is that it provides not only the IT components but also, importantly, a whole range of additional services. In addition, the solution is available in "service" mode, which is quite an original solution on the market. From a bank’s point of view, this is an end-to-end solution that enables it to comply with the European Commission’s rules in the least intrusive manner possible."
Undoubted added value for the entire banking landscape
This platform, in "service" mode, will allow any bank to connect. Isabel Group's expertise will facilitate connectivity, regardless of the bank’s interface.
Jean de Crane, CEO of Isabel Group: "Connecting banks has been our business for more than two decades; it's in our DNA. We can offer banks the fastest route to complying with the constraints of PSD2 while enabling them to prepare for the future. Our model handles the difficulties and uncertainties associated with all these changes. We are of course offering this to the members of our community, and also to any bank wishing to take up the challenges of PSD2 in the most convenient way possible".
The added value of the "API HUB" benefits the entire banking eco-system. Indeed, it will be of use not only to the banks, but also to third-party payment service providers (TPPs). A single connection will allow them to connect to many banks. The platform is open to the entire European banking sector. The fact that more banks and TPPs are connected to the API HUB will create a leverage effect and will augment the added value of the solution for the different parties concerned. PSD2 is likely to bring more user-friendly services to the customer.
A first step towards "open banking"
“Open banking” is the new framework within which the banking sector will develop in the near future. The use of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), third-party access to data, and a dramatic rise in the number of stakeholders, will open up the sector. In this context, each bank will have to make choices about how far it wishes to open up.
Jean de Crane, CEO of Isabel Group: "In its basic form, our solution offers the minimum required to comply with European Commission rules. Moreover, because our offering is modular, both the banks and third-party payment service providers can move towards the "open banking" model at their own pace, while continuing to comply with European Commission rules".
Jean de Crane new CEO Isabel Group
On the 3rd of May, Jean de Crane will become the new CEO of Isabel Group. In order to ensure a smooth transition, Johan De Meyer will act as CEO during 3 months and hand over officially on the 1st of August 2017.
“We are very pleased to welcome Jean as new CEO of Isabel Group” says Frank Stockx, Chairman of Isabel Group. “Our market is going through an accelerated transformation driven by both regulatory and technology evolutions. Isabel Group is determined to grasp the possibilities these changes bring. Jean has the adequate experience and drive to be at the helm of the company for this journey”.
To ensure business continuity and a smooth handover, Jean de Crane and Johan De Meyer will jointly kick-off this transition period and act as a team for the coming three months.
Jean de Crane is 54 and holds a Master Degree in IT. He relies on an extensive experience at CxO level and as board member in different companies. He is a recognized expert in the payment area.
On his new role, Jean mentions: “This challenge is really exciting. Isabel Group is a sound company, with a great team I am eager to work with every day, and playing a key role in the economy. I’m incredibly impatient to start this new role and contribute to the further successes of Isabel Group”.
Belgian payment institution EPBF goes all in for Isabel 6 platform
Payment institution EPBF, a subsidiary of the French bank BRED Banque Populaire which is active in our country in the area of SEPA payments (Single Euro Payments Area), aims to further expand its activities on the Belgian market. The payment institution already has an extensive international customer portfolio, but by joining the ultra-secure platform Isabel 6 -offered by Isabel Group, the leading provider of multi-bank Internet and mobile banking services for professional users in Belgium - the financial stakeholder aims to further strengthen its position on the Belgian market.
EPBF, a subsidiary of leading French BRED Banque Populaire, currently processes a third of all SEPA direct debits initiated from Belgium. The financial stakeholder wishes to further increase its share, particularly in respect of medium and large enterprises. By joining the Isabel 6 platform, it aims to be even more responsive to its customer's needs. “In the current context of increasing standardisation of payment services, EPBF sets itself apart by offering a close, privileged relationship that meets every one of its customers' specific needs with a tailored solution,” said Bertrand Roux, CEO of EPBF.
EPBF is the 26th payment institution to join the Isabel network. “We are pleased that payment institution EPBF has confidence in Isabel Group and are particularly happy that they recognise the many benefits of Isabel 6,” said Johan De Meyer, CEO of Isabel Group. Isabel Group, the leading provider of multi-bank Internet and mobile banking services for professional users in Belgium, handles over 1 million transactions per day, representing a total annual amount of around 2,600 billion Euros.
EPBF offers payment and cash management solutions to international companies. In 2016, it processed 177 million SEPA transactions, for a total value of 28 billion Euros.
EPBF is based in Brussels and has in BRED Banque Populaire a parent company that is one of the leading players in payment methods in France. BRED Banque Populaire itself belongs to Groupe BPCE, the second largest French banking group.
About Isabel Group
Isabel Group was founded in 1995 at the initiative of the major banks, its shareholders, and became the leading provider of multi-bank internet banking services for professional users in Belgium. 75,000 users and 30,000 customers including major companies, SMEs, schools, the self-employed, and government agencies are able to choose the best products and services offered by over 25 banks at the best conditions. The Isabel 6 solution enables 433 million secure transactions to be processed every year, for a total value of 2,600 billion Euros.
Isabel Group is also the driving force behind Zoomit, the free Internet and Mobile Banking service used by 13 banks which enables invoices to be quickly and easily paid with a single click. Zoomit is used by more than 1.000.000 consumers and processes 350.000 documents every day from over 100 different senders of invoices, bank statements, tax returns and pay slips.
In October 2016, Isabel Group acquired CodaBox, leader in digitalization for accountancy professionals and experts. Collaboration between both entities, that continue to exist independently, leads to a better service for professional clients and an expansion of the offering. CodaBox currently has a customer base of 1,450 accountancy firms, and is the market leader in its domain.
Isabel Group employs 200 experts, its registered office is located in the heart of Brussels and it achieved a turnover of 58.7 million Euros in 2016.
Zoomit celebrates its 10th anniversary and enters the B2B market
The Isabel Group is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Zoomit, its electronic invoicing platform. This tool has become a permanent asset for electronic invoice processing for private individuals this past decade. Ambitious electronic invoice processing projects for businesses are now taking shape.
Isabel Group acquires 100% of CodaBox shares
On 3 October, Isabel Group and CodaBox reached an agreement on Isabel Group’s acquisition of CodaBox. Both entities will continue to exist independently. The agreement is a major advance in the increasing digitalization of Belgium’s accountancy landscape. Furthermore, it will ensure better service for professional clients and an expansion of services thanks to the development of new products.
This acquisition brings together two key players in financial services for accountants. Isabel Group is an established name in the Belgian financial marketplace, with strong expertise in facilitating and automating electronic payments. Its acquisition of CodaBox brings valuable knowhow in the area of electronic account information.
CodaBox was created especially for accountancy professionals and experts. The company provides services that facilitate electronic replacements for bank statements, social documents and invoices. It is essential that clients have electronic access to these documents, both for banks – via Isabel Group – and for CodaBox.
Better service, broader service
“These two companies are absolutely complementary,” says Johan De Meyer, CEO of Isabel Group. This fact will ease Isabel Group’s entry into the market, thus enabling it to expand its complementary services. “For users, this means an increase in quality and professionalism, but also an expansion of our product range thanks to the development of new services.”
In light of the spectacular growth of the digital economy and the European Union’s ambitions to harmonize payments via the Payment Services Directive (PSD 2), businesses in the financial sector are increasingly obliged to magnify their scale of operations. Working together, CodaBox and Isabel Group will be better able to serve a larger number of clients than ever before.
The fruits of efforts & trust
For CodaBox, the collaboration with Isabel Group will make it easier to gain access to Belgian banks. CodaBox will continue to exist as a separate entity, and its objectives remain unchanged: to provide accountancy offices with digital documents. “On a day-to-day basis, nothing will change. Our clients are accountants – they will continue to be accountants,” states CodaBox CEO Martin Servais.
To enhance further growth in a rapidly evolving landscape, CodaBox needed a solid partner. “With Isabel Group as a shareholder, we are able to go even further, and faster,” says Martin Servais. “This is an excellent recognition of the work that our staff has done, and illustrates that the trust that our partners place in our work is now bearing fruit.”
Good news for banks and accountants
The fact that banks are taking an indirect route into the accountancy world is a good development for professional accountants, believes Martin Servais. “It highlights the need to delineate the extent of each profession, and to ensure the presence of an entity that can guarantee healthy interaction between a traditional bank, the accountancy firm, and accountancy software.”
Banks also benefit from the collaboration thanks to enhanced, more streamlined processes for processing coded account information (CODA). Moreover, the CODA service is now available to a wider audience. Johan De Meyer concludes, “This collaboration means a significant increase in efficiency for banks and professional accountants. It is a major step towards a fully digitalized, professional accountancy environment.”
Isabel celebrates its 20th anniversary and becomes Isabel Group
Isabel celebrated its 20th anniversary, in the company of top players in the financial world in Belgium. The company is combining this special anniversary with a name change that comes as the culmination of an extensive repositioning effort initiated three years ago.
On the eve of the full opening of the payment services market in 2017, the new Isabel Group now more than ever plays a key role thanks to further investments in cyber security and the further development of identity management.