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How our banks are innovating

Rebecca Merrett | June 17, 2014
Australia’s banks are all looking at how they can meet the needs of today’s mobile and digitally savvy customer through technology innovation.

Kulkarni plans to roll out these services to Samsung and Pebble smartwatches later this year. "The hard work has already been done, which is essentially connecting it to our back-end system. In order to do the rollout, we need the SDK [software development kit] and API [application programming language] from the vendors, and we just received that from Samsung."

Suncorp's CIO, Matt Pacino, is another IT leader focusing heavily on mobility and cites explosive growth across all of the bank's channels in the mobility space. Today, 57 per cent of customers engaged in online banking are via mobile.

"Our mobility channel for banking is the number one interaction we have with our customers. So it's absolutely critical we are able to get their feedback and actually adjust to service their needs very quickly," he says.

Pacino overhauled Suncorp's banking app in November 2013 after workshopping features and functionality with customers. New capabilities include the ability to check account balances by swiping the screen with Quick Balance, a feature similar to St George's MoneyMeter. Customers can also do every day banking transactions via the app such as transfer funds or pay bills.

Making the app simple and easy to use was the main driver, says Pacino. This ties in with his broader strategy to simplify and consolidate existing core IT systems to create a more consistent experience for customers across all of Suncorp's engagement channels. The simplification program is earmarked to deliver $225 million in benefits in 2015.

"We will have one claims engine, one pricing engine, one policy engine and one digital platform where we are able to deliver differentiated services to each one of our brands and customer segments appropriately," Pacino says.

Bank of Queensland also launched a mobile app in November that provides any home buyer free access to RP Data property reports. Once entering an address, a full report is emailed to the buyer and includes the property's estimated value, recent sales in the area, suburb profile and description.

"Mobile is our most popular channel, and the growth has doubled year-on-year," its CIO, Julie Bale, says, adding the property app is a way of better engaging and developing a relationship with customers and potential customers looking to mortgage a home.

Intelligent customer insight

Alongside customer-facing technology innovations, banks are increasingly looking to better understand customers through data. Defence Bank's CIO, Ian Brown, is doing a proof-of-concept on predictive analytics software to help retain customers, as well as better tailor services such as personal loans.

"What we are looking at doing is a complete transactional analysis, going back over the last three or four years, and looking at patterns, behaviour and so on within our membership," he says.


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