For a long time now, we have talked about emerging markets. Emerging markets ten years ago were China and India. Today they have emerged, although the investment magazines still designate the BRIC economies and other markets, such as Poland, Turkey and South Africa, as emerging.

These markets were well behind in banking ten to fifteen years ago. I remember talking to representatives of the one of the Chinese banks back then, and being amazed because they had over 300 million customers. “How do you manage so many customers?” I asked. “Badly”, was the answer.

As I wrote in my book on the Future of Banking:

China’s banks had little concept of customer services or managing risk in 2001. If you entered a Chinese bank branch, the whole ethos is one of directing customers into queues and then leaving the customer to wonder whether they would ever get served.”

It’s amazing that just over a decade later, Chinese banks are the biggest in the world. ICBC is the largest bank in the world, according to this year’s Banker magazine ratings, and four of China’s banks are now firmly in the top twenty of the world. Twenty years ago, the largest banks were all Japanese and ten years ago American.

Like the Chinese economy, the Chinese banking system has emerged from its hidden regime and been renovated, along with its services as demonstrated by firms like China UnionPay.

The same is true in India, where ICICI Bank shows leadership continually. The latest example is ICICI Bank’s use of social media to offer full service banking through Facebook, something that most banks in developed economies are only just considering.

In fact the innovation hotbeds of banking today are in emerging economies such as Turkey and Poland, where banks such as Deniz Bank, Garanti Bank, Alior Bank and mBank are all shaking the tree. All of these banks are reinventing banking by using the latest retail technologies – social media, the mobile internet, cloud, and Big Data – to rethink the customer experience.

This is not even mentioning the banks that are in the developing economies, where mobile innovations are also adding spice to the mix. From the M-PESA experience in Kenya through to issuing food stamps in emergency zones from Haiti to Indonesia, we are seeing new ways of thinking about money, and new ways of delivering banking services.

It is these innovations that are creating financial inclusion for the underbanked and unbanked, as well as creating financial innovation for the smartbanked. What is surprising therefore is the lack of incorporation of these innovations and ideas amongst some of the developed economies.

Could it be that the outdated systems of the mature markets are hampering their ability to reinvent bank services? Are emerging and developing markets more inventive because they don’t have the heritage?

It certainly seems that way.

This is why developed economy customers are demanding 21st century technologies from banks with systems stuck in the last century.

Something’s gotta give, and it just might be when emerging market banks enter developed economy banking.