Moving to a real time customer experience

Sue Coulter, General Manager, Business Transformation & Technology

The financial services landscape is rapidly evolving, as organisations respond to a growing customer appetite to access information, products and services in ‘real time’ and at the touch of a button. But what exactly do we mean by ‘real time’ or ‘straight-through’ processing and how do we deliver it?

For CUA, it is a focus on providing the best possible ‘customer experience’ - rather than the technology - that is driving a major overhaul of CUA’s processes, systems and technology. As Australia’s largest customer-owned financial services provider, CUA has a clear mandate to put the customer ‘front and centre’ of all our decisions. While we aspire to become a leading player in the digital space within financial services, we won’t get there overnight.

The starting point for us has been to make sure that the the core building blocks – or the foundations – are in place. CUA’s $60 million new core banking system was launched in October 2013 after three years in development. As one of only a handful of Australian financial institutions to implement a new core banking system, CUA earned international recognition, winning the 2014 Celent Model Bank Award for Legacy and Ecosystem Transformation.

The challenge now is to effectively leverage the additional capability which the core system provides. In its first two years, the core banking system has already enabled a range of customer service enhancements including online redraw capability, online statements and online card activation. While not necessarily new or innovative ideas, they do give customers access to ‘real time’ information and give them more control over their finances.  

Looking ahead, CUA is devoting significant resources and energy to our digital strategy and in 2015-16, we will make a significant investment in digital. Loan origination is the next phase in capitalising on the core banking system platform. The first version of our personal loan origination system was launched last year. Now a more complex phase is underway, developing an omni-channel loan origination experience for home loans, personal loans and credit cards utilising the same user friendly interface for both staff and online customers.

Introducing online applications for our core business of residential lending is a key plank of the digital strategy. But so too is improved digital banking functionality – for mobile, tablets and online – so we can deliver the service expected by online customers and those shopping around for an alternative to their current bank. Around one in five active CUA customers use mobile banking. But the key marker is that CUA’s mobile banking logins each month have almost doubled in less than two years, to around 1.3 million per month in April 2015.  This highlights the importance of taking a ‘mobile first’ approach to development, and the huge opportunity that an improved mobile banking experience will provide.

Last year, CUA was the first financial institution in the Asia-Pacific to launch a free mobile payments app using HCE technology – CUA redi2PAY - which allowed customers to ‘tap and pay’ with any compatible Android phone. The focus has now shifted to functional improvements to CUA’s mobile banking app – which is separate to the redi2PAY payments app. We’re also redesigning our website to provide a more user friendly experience. While the digital channel and loan origination are among CUA’s top priorities for the coming 12 months, CUA is not intending to move to a purely ‘digital’ offering.

In fact, the whole reason for digital is to enable us to provide our customers with  a  seamless omni-channel experience which  gives our customers  choice over the channel they use to buy or browse our products and services, and or transact with us as their banking provider. One of the strengths of the customer-owned model is our people – the personalised service, the in-branch experience, the local community and grassroots connections. ‘Assisted teller devices’, like in-branch tablets or mobile devices, will also help to bridge the digital world and our bricks-and-mortar branches. Finally, the shift to ‘real time processing’ and an improved digital customer experience will only succeed if we simultaneously streamline our back-office processes and policies, and reduce the number of steps involved in each process. We’ve also reorganised our teams internally, combining the technology and business arms of ‘digital’ into a single focused team. Ultimately, moving to a ‘real time’ digital environment and omni-channel approach to servicing our customers is not just about wanting to be the best at what we do – it will be critical to long-term viability and success not only for CUA, but all financial institutions.

 

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