Bendigo and Adelaide Bank has pumped $52.4 million into its ongoing transformation program to reduce complexity and build digital capability through streamlined service offerings.
The accelerated transformation targets the bank’s cost base through automation initiatives and new capability to improve operational efficiency, customer outcomes and experience, managing director and CEO Marnie Baker said during the bank’s full year results call.
The investment in technology include spending on Bendigo’s core banking systems, digital platforms and fees for technology consultants.
They contributed to a 7 percent rise in overall operating expenses for the year compared to the previous corresponding period, which totalled $1.02 billion.
“We have our thoughts squarely focused on sustainable long term growth,” Baker said.
“This will be propelled by the adoption of new technologies, an adaptive innovative culture, an Agile workforce, tight cost management and simplifying our business, all the while remaining acutely focused on better customer outcomes.”
The bank is planning to simplify its environment by removing 12 percent of its software applications to reduce costs.
It is also restructuring its marketing and technology teams, “reducing the number of roles required and removing management layers”.
These initiatives form part of Bendigo’s four-pillar growth strategy, which also includes a reduction in operational complexity to increase productivity, and longer term transformation initiatives in response to the changing needs of customers and an evolving operating environment.
Adoption of new technologies was accelerated by the year's bushfire and health crisis, with a focus on remote operations that included new capabilities for customers to sign documents digitally and customer identification through video.
“We implemented new data streaming and integration capabilities to deliver real-time data and transition to the cloud,” Baker added.
“We reduced the number of products and systems being used, automated a number of workflows to enhance the customer experience, delivered the first phase of open banking ahead of schedule, and continued to enhance data capabilities to mitigate risk.”
Digital, fintech growth
The bank is increasingly targeting younger customers through its main Bendigo and Adelaide Bank brand as well as through its fintech operations including Up neobank, tic:toc mortgage lender and Ferocia digital banking play.
“The success of our fintech partnerships with Ferocia and tic:toc were further strengthened this year," Baker said.
“Up, Australia’s highest-rated banking application and first mobile-only digital bank to launch in Australia, more than doubled its customer numbers to over 250,000.
“Tic:toc sustained further growth of 120 percent year-on-year with cumulative home loan approvals now at more than $1.22 billion.
"The average age of new customers is 10 years younger than the broader customer base, and the number of customers aged 39 or younger increased by 11 percent over the year.
“As we continue our growth trajectory, we will sustainably step up the level of investment in technology and digital initiatives and people capability to boost scale and efficiency, increase productivity, further remove complexity in our business and deliver the banking experience of the future.”