Bendigo Bank boss sees value in tech partnerships

Partnering with technology companies makes sense given pace of change in industry, bank MD says

The pace of change in the banking industry means it makes sense to seek partnerships with technology companies to help deliver customer-focussed innovations, according to Bendigo and Adelaide Bank managing director Mike Hirst

"From a technology point of view, we've been investing reasonably heavily in customer systems," Hirst told a full year results briefing this morning

Those include the bank's mobile banking platform and payment platform, as well as customer risk management and data risk management.

"A lot of that is being done through partnering models with technology companies rather than through inventing everything on our own," Hirst said.

"I think given the pace of change that customers are driving through the industry, that's going to more and more be an approach that organisations will take going forward."

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank launched its miBanker app in January. The app targets business customers and is designed to offer round-the-clock access to banking advice.

miBanker won the 2015 Victorian iAward for financial services.

During FY15 the bank launched its miVoice platform, which is intended to deliver better access to customer feedback.

The bank has invited a select group of customers to join the collaboration platform, which allows it to run ideas past customers and solicit new ideas.

"It's very new for us but right now we're seeing great engagement from those customers who we've invited to join us," Hirst said.

The bank has also invested in data analytics technologies to understand its customers, he added.

"All of that work is influencing what we do around brand and marketing strategies, what we're doing around product structures, our growth plans for the future," he said.

"And of course it's further embedding the customer-led culture that the organisation has developed over a long period of time and that culture that holds us in very good stead."

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank recorded a $35.7 million increase in its capitalised software balance during FY15, offset by amortisation of $14.2 million.

Most of that spending has been investing in customer systems, the bank's CFO, Richard Fennell, said.

"The investments we've made in those new technologies can be seen from the increase balanced of capitalised software," the CFO said.

A $29.1 million year-on-year increase in staff costs was driven largely by an increase in FTEs in technology and change areas, the CFO said.

The bank also recorded an IT cost increase of 4.9 per cent ($3.4 million) predominantly due to an increase in software maintenance and IT leasing costs.

The bank announced an after tax statutory profit of $423.9 million for the 12 months ending 30 June.

Underlying cash earnings were $432.4 million, up 13.1 per cent on the prior corresponding period, the bank said.

Follow Rohan on Twitter: @rohan_p

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