Agile new financial service providers are tempting customers with the promise of a more user-friendly digital experience. How can traditional banks fight back and thrive in this fast-changing market? Established provider Bankwest, which has more than 120 years of experience offering retail and corporate services to 1.2 million customers across Australia, looked for an answer.

Bankwest knew that its long and successful past was no guarantee of future success. With consumers looking for more convenient, frictionless services, the bank launched a digital transformation strategy, shifting its focus from simply developing new products to creating a high-quality end-to-end customer experience.

‘Best Omni-Channel’ and ‘Best Digital Platform’ at the Australian Business Banking Awards 2017

One key goal for Bankwest was introducing a smoother, faster application process for small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) customers looking to raise credit. Decision makers at SMEs often perform multiple roles and work long hours, and inevitably want to avoid long-winded application and verification processes. By simplifying the process, Bankwest could attract new business and strengthen ties with its existing clients.

Overcoming Barriers to Transformation

Consumer expectations of their financial service provider have never been higher. To satisfy the demand for ever-more innovative service, Bankwest wanted to create a speedy client journey to match the stellar experience offered by the likes of Uber, Amazon, and Apple across other industry verticals.

With many challenger banks entering the market and focusing on delivering single products such as credit or payments with omnichannel digital access to suit the customer, Bankwest also realized that building a first-class onboarding process would help it stand out in an increasingly congested market.

In addition, Bankwest identified the many pitfalls faced by traditional banks when implementing wholesale changes. Evolving regulatory demands, aging legacy technologies, and conflicting stakeholder agendas often combine to slow down decision making and hamper the effectiveness of major transformation programs. To avoid these traps, Bankwest began planning a comprehensive innovation program.

Implementing a Creative Strategy

At the start of its digital transformation, Bankwest drew inspiration from the huge success of its parent company, Commonwealth Bank (CBA). In recent years, CBA, one of the ‘big four’ Australian banks, has completed a hugely effective modernization project. By developing more customer-centric retail and commercial services, CBA has succeeded in raising profitability, lowering costs and creating a more engaging client experience.

New onboarding process development and roll out in a fast turnaround time

To replicate this success, Bankwest created a series of multidisciplinary innovation teams, with expertise in everything from product development and software engineering to marketing and design thinking. These teams were tasked with uncovering insights into how modern consumers wanted to interact with their bank, creating blueprints for new customer-centric services, and sourcing innovative solutions from technology partners.

Andy Weir, Executive General Manager of Technology and Transformation at Bankwest explains: “We passionately believe that everything starts with listening to the voice of the customer, and that means not just what they say but also why they say it. Using design thinking and other techniques is critical to get to the heart of what really matters to customers, and then building out experiences based on those insights.”

Selecting the Right Technology Partner

To support the creation of the new system for SME credit card applications, Bankwest decided to implement Temenos Infinity solutions. The Temenos platform provides Bankwest with design and testing tools, prebuilt components for client verification, and deep integration with its core banking systems. Working with the Temenos team, Bankwest developed and rolled out the new onboarding process in fast turnaround time.

“Selecting the right partner is always crucial for us, and we conduct a thorough assessment process for every project. We look to work only with vendors with a similar culture to our own—those that share our commitment to optimising the customer journey and that demonstrate a real appetite for innovation. Our partners must also show they can meet the highest standards of security, since we manage huge volumes of customer data. When assessing options for our SME credit card onboarding solutions, Temenos Infinity ticked all the boxes.”

Andy Weir, Executive General Manager of Technology and Transformation

Connecting Companies with Credit

With the rollout of the credit card application process, Bankwest simplifies and accelerates access to much-needed capital for SMEs. To take advantage of emerging opportunities, small businesses may need to raise funds quickly; Bankwest’s new process rises to the occasion by eliminating the complexity and delays that can accompany credit applications.

Offering a high-quality, frictionless experience is helping Bankwest to attract more customers from the SME segment, while the focus on innovation has won the bank plaudits from across the Australian financial sector. In 2017, the small business credit card application experience helped Bankwest to win ‘Best Omni-Channel’ and ‘Best Digital Platform’ at the Australian Business Banking Awards.

Weir concludes: “Technology plays a key role in enabling us to innovate and implement our design thinking strategies. Working with Temenos has been an excellent experience, enabling us to develop a credit application process closely tied to the preferences of our customers. As a result, we ensure that we stay relevant and can compete against newcomers in the banking market.”