CUA continues on innovation path to build customer branding

  • By Christine St Anne

Australia’s largest credit union CUA will continue to harness technology to meet its member expectations, rolling out an app that allows its members to choose a personal banker to help with their banking and insurance needs through instant messaging.

The business has already announced a number of initiatives including the launch of Apple Pay on its eftpos rediCARd.

On Thursday, the credit union rolled out its iM CUA app, an initiative achieved through Pivotus, an international collaboration with US bank Umpqua and the Netherland’s de Volksbank.

The rollout follows a successful trial with around 2,500 users on Apple devices.

“We have had positive net promoter score results throughout the pilot. At the end of June, 66 per cent of users who used the app said they were likely to promote CUA to others,” CUA CEO Rob Goudswaard said at a media lunch in Sydney.

The pilot has also achieved a 103 per cent increase in home loan enquiries.

Further innovations are in the pipeline under the collaboration.

Kony, the provider of CUA’s new mobile banking platform bought Pivotus in October.

“We moved our online banking mobile in the middle of the year to Kony. We introduced Kony to Pivotus, Kony liked it so much they bought the business.  

“The alignment of the two CUA partner organisations could potentially pave the way for exciting opportunities around integrating CUA’s mobile banking and iM CUA apps in the future,” Goudswaard said.

For the CUA chief, there is an opportunity now for member-only financial institutions to tell a compelling story.

The human touch

“We don’t have to invest on behalf of shareholders. We have the opportunity to reinvest in technology to make us relevant to our members and ensure we meet their needs.

“If we stuck to the traditional origins of a credit union, that is using a blackboard and chalk, we would be out of business. We need to understand the changing needs of our members.

“Mobile banking is overtaking traditional banking and we need to be there.”  

What differentiates the app from other instant messaging apps in the financial industry is the ability for members to select their own personal banker who gets to know them and supports them with their banking and insurance needs every time they use the app.

He acknowledges that bots could be provided to deliver on service but believes that people still want the “convenience of modern technology with a distinctly human touch” even the millennials, a view highlighted in recent research.

Goudswaard is also positive on a number of regulatory initiatives in the pipeline in 2019 including open banking and comprehensive credit reporting but sees the New Payments Platform as a game changer.

“The ability to establish all your payments into one ID will give consumers greater portability with their banking. Open banking and CCR will only enhance this. It means the choice will really be with the consumer.

He also quipped that it will be interesting to see how many bank executives will leave the industry once the Banking Accountability and Executive Regime comes in – a trend that would be consistent with the experience in the UK.