A recent study of 7,000 European consumers found that one in five would consider using banking services from a technology company such as Facebook and Google. In addition, more than a third said they would switch banks if their provider didn’t offer up-to-date technology to aid interaction.
While this news is surprising, it isn’t entirely unexpected to the financial services industry. The digital customer has consistently demanded greater convenience and access, imploring their banks to transform to meet their needs and wants.
Few banks have risen to the challenge as well as RBS, one of the industry leaders in the UK. Understanding the evolving needs of the customer, RBS has taken significant steps to change both the structure and culture of their organization to deliver on the brand promise of “Helpful Banking.”
“Helpful Banking” is exactly what it sounds like: a commitment from RBS to deliver the products and services that customers want and need with the goal of helping them live better lives.
Given the rising popularity of mobile payments in the UK, one of the areas where RBS decided to focus its efforts for “Helpful Banking” was on the mobile experience. They knew that the UK economy had the highest digital payments usage in the world, with the number of electronic payments (52 percent) in the UK market exceeding cash payments (48 percent).
However, despite the sheer volume of mobile transactions, the login process on handheld devices remained cumbersome. Customer comments on RBS’s “Ideas Bank” called for a simplified login process that would streamline purchases, without sacrificing security.
Partnering with Apple, RBS set out to solve this issue. They created Touch ID, a new tool that allowed customers to use their fingerprints to log in to their account in just a fraction of the time as the previous process. With the launch of Touch ID, RBS became the first UK-based bank to offer a bank login solely with biometric identification.
Just five days after the launch of Touch ID, 72 percent of all capable iOS logins were via Touch ID. App reviews went up from three to four stars on the Apple App Store with the release of the update and there were over 8,000 references to RBS and NatWest on Twitter in the first twenty-four hours after launch, including recognition received from both industry and national media.
Another tool that RBS introduced as part of their “Helpful Banking” promise centered on mortgage lending.
The UK housing market is notoriously competitive, and tighter standards have created further uncertainty for mortgage approvals. RBS heard from customers that in the time it took to receive mortgage approval, the property they were considering would be sold to another customer.
To address this issue, RBS introduced Intention to Lend. This digital tool gives consumers a personalized mortgage quote within five minutes – allowing customers to show their real estate agents the bank’s “agreement in principle” for a specific property on the same day. This means better chances for users to win a bid for their dream home, all without any impact on their credit scores.
Since its launch, Intention to Lend has delivered £5 billion worth of lending potential to 32,000 users. Moreover, RBS saw a 20 percent increase in first-time buyers, with 60 percent of Intention to Lend users being first-timers. And, if that weren't enough, over 9,000 working hours of mortgage application processing have been saved each year by automating the process via the web tool.
Touch ID and Intention to Lend are just two of the many innovations that RBS created to fulfill their promise of “Helpful Banking.” Our recent point of view, entitled Case Study: Reimagining Banking at RBS and available for download below, further explores some of RBS’s product and service innovations, including Get Cash, which allows users to make withdraws at their network of ATMs through the use of a temporary access code and a groundbreaking Apple Watch app that lets users do much more than simply check balances. For more information on these features and how RBS is revolutionizing banking in the digital era, download the full report below.
RBS continues to see strong results for its initiatives, and has embraced a culture of innovation and change in order to maintain its momentum. Consumer banking may be changing, but so is RBS.