Wealth One Bank of Canada: Opening doors through digital

Our head of marketing and strategy is interviewed by Efma and Ernst & Young for their study on digital banking in Canada through COVID

Barry Ferguson, Chief Marketing Officer at WealthONE spoke with them about the myriad ways in which the Bank is supporting new arrivals to the country with our digital offerings. Here is the exclusive interview article and the full study produced by Efma & EY Digital banking through COVID in Canada: Capitalizing on consumer behaviour change.


What does digital mean for your institution? 

Leveraging technology to enhance both the client experience and our staff user experience.
 
What were your institution's digital priorities prior to the start of Covid and how have these priorities evolved since the start of the pandemic?

Clearly, we are all working from home and will need to further examine the long-term viability of many staff doing that. Perhaps more permanently, what new technology will be required for them to do their jobs effectively and securely.
 
We are committed to implementing a new digital banking platform and have accelerated that project to launch in mid-2021. We just recently launched digital tools that enable third parties, such as mortgage brokers to submit applications electronically and directly to our underwriting group for more efficient processing and turnaround.
 
Which area(s) is a priority for Digitization? (e.g. Back Office, Underwriting, Branch, Contact Center)

As a primarily branchless bank, we will continue to focus on enhancing our mobile app, online banking experience, and targeting key social media platforms to drive awareness and conversion.
 
Across all of our internal processes, we are looking at more efficient ways to onboard new clients so our Back Office, Underwriting and Client Service teams are better positioned to serve our clients from day one.
 
What are you investing most heavily in? (e.g. core banking, RPA, CRM, Cyber)
 
Our new digital banking platform will be state-of-the-art and we’ve partnered with a very creative marketing agency to help us build engaging digital experiences that will attract new clients, grow our relationships with them, and allow us to enhance our client’s overall financial health.
 
What benefits are you looking to generate from internal Digital initiatives (e.g. regulatory, cost, customer experience, empower salesforce)

Everything begins with the client experience: how we attract, communicate, and retain clients is driving our digital investment. We have invested in Salesforce / enterprise CRM tool to manage leads, partner activity, etc.
 
We want to make it easier for people to do business with us and that starts with our market presence: i.e. A new, modern website and mobile app that is attractive, informative and interactive – we want to build relationships.
 
Which customers are becoming the most "digital"? Which interactions are hardest to digitize? (e.g. complaints, problems, advice, new mortgage)? Do you have a plan to bring remaining interactions to digital?

As a niche mortgage lender, for example, applications are not always ‘straightforward, fill in the blanks’ types so we need to interact with the applicant. That means having a conversation. We continue to look at ways to improve the application process to make it easier for applicants to provide the necessary information to get approved, but we feel strongly that a personal element is a point of differentiation for us as well.
 
What are the top risks facing banks with the introduction and acceleration of digital? Have these changed with Covid?

As a small bank, we have to make hard choices and each investment is critical. We cannot afford to make serious mistakes.
 
Have you found that as you become more "digital" this improves employee satisfaction and profitability?

Yes, the employee experience made easier drives employee satisfaction and is correlated to improving client satisfaction. It is our belief also that greater efficiency allows us to redirect resources and drive profitability.
 
What are the internal barriers to employee digital adoption? Have you invested in internal digital adoption initiatives? What were they?

Changing long-time behaviors is always a potential challenge and we have definitely experienced conservative initial adoption rates in some areas. We have leaned on our vendors to demonstrate/model best practices and to provide e-learning resources so our staff can access ongoing support.
 
Does your bank have the required digital skills amongst existing staff, or have you had to recruit for these skills?

As we grow, we will continue to recruit talent that brings the desired/necessary digital skills.
 
Have you considered partnerships to accelerate time to market for digital initiatives?

As a smaller organization, partnerships are integral to our ability to have access to leading digital tools and expertise.
 
What is your planning time horizon for Digital initiatives? (e.g. 1 year, 3 years?)

The next year represents a big investment in digital initiatives starting with transitioning to a new omni-channel digital banking platform, launching a new digital website with significantly enhanced capabilities around attracting, engaging, and converting new clients, automated account opening and an intuitive mobile experience as well.
 
How do you demonstrate an ROI in digital? How is your bank defining digital success?

Initially, it’s about making the right investments in the tools (as described above) in order to attract, engage and convert clients more efficiently and in greater number i.e. Drive down ‘cost of acquisition’.


Original article link: Wealth One Bank of Canada: Opening doors through digital