An online savings bank from scratch in 18 months
Canada’s Equitable Bank wanted to set up in record time an online-only savings bank. Dharmesh Mistry, UXP Product Director for Temenos, talks to the bank’s Dan Dickinson about how it succeeded.
“We wanted to build a digital bank quickly but one that was efficient, lean, and allowed us to go directly to customers with higher rates of interest than our competitors,”
said Dan Dickinson - VP of digital banking - EQ Bank, part of Canada’s Equitable Bank
Within hours of EQ’s launch on January 14, thousands were logging on and signing up. It is branchless, offers savings-only accounts with online access, and deals with customers online only. By being branchless it can also promise higher interest rates for savers – currently 3% compared with less than 2% for similar instant access accounts in Canada. The Digital Banking team is just 27 people, although it does outsource its call centre operations.
EQ’s move is a big shot back from the banks in the war against the giant disruptors of their industry. Apple, Google, Amazon and others have been stealing a march on legacy banks and their creaky IT systems with a greater understanding of the modern bank customer: they know the services they need, when they want them and the platforms on which they want them delivered.
The disruptors are also incredibly fast innovators. But EQ showed it can be nimble too. It took just 18 months from selecting its core platform to setting up the first account. It then spent another six months working with Temenos on refining the systems, gradually adding more staff accounts, then selected external accounts – friends and family – before launching in January 2016.