Sea change sends CUA CIO to Hong Kong

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Sea change sends CUA CIO to Hong Kong

Departs bank after seven years.

Credit Union Australia's IT chief Sue Coulter will bid farewell to a seven-year career at the bank to set sail for AIA Life Insurance in Hong Kong.

It marks a change of scenery for the long-time banking IT executive, who has spent the majority of her career in Australia after starting out in the United Kingdom.

She joined CUA in mid-2010 to help deliver its new BaNCS-based core banking system and online and mobile banking platform - an initiative that ultimately won the bank the finance category iTnews Benchmark Award the following year.

Coulter was next tasked with delivering a wider strategic technology roadmap for the organisation that leveraged its new core banking system and outlined how the bank would utilise digital delivery, data and analytics.

She later earned the title of CIO, a position she served in for two-and-a-half-years until tweaking it to become chief digital officer in August last year.

Coulter has also overseen the ongoing delivery of a new loan origination platform, new mobile banking and digital offerings, modernised corporate systems, and led the continuing pursuit of a single customer view as part of a broader data program.

She similarly helped CUA become one of the first customers of Australia Post's Digital ID identify verification service.

Coulter told iTnews she had been attracted to AIA for the scale of the business and the cultural diversity of the markets it operates in.

"They're the second largest life insurer in the workd and their geogrpahical spread is 18 countries across South-East Asia. The opportunity to work where there is a lot of innovation happening - and to live in a different country with lots of different cultures - was attractive to me."

She will serve as AIA's group head of digital and innovation, reporting into the chief information officer, from February 5.

Coulter said she was proud of what her small team had been able to achieve.

"More recently [I'm most proud] of our ability to embrace innovation: the Pivotus relationship we cemented this year - we did the whole tie-up and launch of the app within six months," she said.

"We've now got close to 1200 people using it, and it's still in pilot and will be until March.

"On a smaller scale it's also been our ability to be open to doing things a bit differently. Like our collaboration with Greater Bank - which came out of an idea from a hackathon - for the LendSum app, which helps formalise inter-family lending. We've also been among the first to market with a number of the mobile payments platforms like Apple Pay. 

"And on a personal note, it's the way we have used design thinking and human-centred design to launch things like Hatch [product for new parents] and to design our new branch at Toowoomba, which has been hugely successful for us."

Coulter does, however, anticipate coming back to Australia in three or four years time.

Ben Stokes will act in Coulter's role until she formally exits in January, and CUA is working through the next steps in terms of an interim IT chief and her subsequent replacement.

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