Delivering frictionless service
Heartland Bank has always been committed to differentiation. Over the years, we have demonstrated this through our focus on providing products which are the best or only of their kind. That focus has evolved to providing best or only products through scalable digital platforms.
Digitalisation allows us to deliver value for customers. Time is precious, and we don’t think it should be spent queuing or waiting on the phone. By removing customer friction through the digitalisation of our platforms and processes, we can deliver fast, digital solutions without costly processes. This provides customers with better service, and, in some cases, cost savings through competitive lending interest rates, or attractive savings interest rates. Importantly, digitalisation enables customers the chance to spend their time on what matters most to them.
We have invested in many digital developments during the financial year ended 30 June 2022 (FY2022), all designed to remove friction for our customers and our teams.
Making more possible
When analysing our customer call data at the beginning of FY2022, we discovered that a high proportion of calls to Heartland Bank’s main customer service phone lines in the second half of the previous financial year (FY2021) were from customers requesting loan or account statements and balances, loan settlement quotes or transaction details – simple requests that we believe customers should be able to complete at a time and place that suits them, without the constraints of calling during business hours.
During FY2022, using these insights, we built functionality within the Heartland Mobile App and Heartland Digital , our online banking platform, to allow Heartland Bank customers to generate a statement or a settlement quote themselves, and increase transfer and payment ability.
These developments, alongside separate efforts to enable customers to self-serve within the app, are paying off. By the end of June 2022, we had significantly increased the number of users of the Heartland Mobile App, up 120%. App developments are providing an improved customer experience, and enabling our people to focus on providing higher value service.
During this financial year (FY2023), we will continue to identify features we can add to our digital banking platforms to further reduce friction for existing and new customers, and enable self-service.
Improving our platforms
In order to be effective, our customers’ self-service access should be fast and intuitive. FY2022 also saw us make improvements to our digital platforms so they are easier for customers to use. Among other things, these updates were designed to help improve accessibility (particularly for older app users), highlight important text, better prompt actions, reduce the need to scroll, improve design layout and create a more consistent user journey.
Automation and improved workflow processes have also been introduced to improve the loan application and onboarding experience behind the scenes for our employees – including increased DocuSign (digital document signature technology) integration to enable faster loan documentation execution and further reduce the need to print, and automated loan documents and letters of offers for some product areas.
Heartland Group Holdings Limited’s (Heartland Group’s) cost to income (CTI) ratio can be used as a measure of the efficiency of digitalisation across the group of entities. In FY2022 Heartland Group’s CTI ratio reduced from 44.8% in FY2021 to 42.5% on an underlying basis (which excludes the impacts of Heartland Group’s acquisition of StockCo Australia and one-offs – see page 75 of Heartland Group’s 2022 Annual Report for more detail).
Investing in technology
In order to achieve our long-term digitalisation goals, we need to have scalable technologies in place that will future-proof us for digital growth. Over the course of FY2022, we have been undertaking a significant piece of work to upgrade our core banking system, requiring substantial investment in technology and resource to implement.
This upgrade is expected to provide us with a stable long-term platform, leading to improved customer service. It is intended to deliver an improved core banking system that is faster, offers enhanced security, and will position us well for future developments that are not currently possible with our existing banking system. This upgrade is expected to be completed by the end of the calendar year, with implementation underway in 2023.
In FY2023, we are continuing to increase our focus on digitalisation to deliver further enhancements to existing product platforms. We will continue to develop digital solutions that make banking easier and faster for our customers. As a greater degree of self-service functionality is developed, we will create scalable digital platforms without costly processes, where enhanced valued can be passed on to customers through better service or competitive rates.
To read more about how we’re providing improved service to our customers and the impact of this on our business overall, read Heartland Group’s 2022 Annual Report .