YORKSHIRE BANK is to launch a new digital banking platform in the coming weeks after investing hundreds of millions of pounds on technology to prepare for its future as a standalone challenger bank.
Chief operating officer Debbie Crosbie said ‘B’ goes live this spring and will appeal to digital savvy customers of all ages.
She said thousands of consumers have helped to develop the mobile and tablet service in an effort to make it as user-friendly as possible.
It will be CYBG plc’s first major product launch since demerging from National Australia Bank and floating on the London Stock Exchange last month.
In an interview with The Yorkshire Post, Ms Crosbie said new technology is bringing enormous changes to the banking industry.
She added: “If I think about the changes that have happened in the last 10 years, banking is unrecognisable. I suspect that pace of change is only going to increase.
“It is fascinating to see how technology can change not only the way you deliver services but the way you find out what customers want...
“Lots of banks talk about customers designing technology. We have really done that because we have had more than 10,000 people look at the development on the way through, we have held workshops and we have really got beneath and behind what people like.”
Ms Crosbie, formerly a chief information officer at Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank, said B’s features and language have been designed following feedback from customers, rather than what previous banks and websites provided.
She added: “The idea is you have a banking application, which is on your tablet or your mobile, whichever your preference is, and you can see all of your holdings, it will give you lots of interesting information, it will encourage you to learn about the way that you spend and manage your money better and it gives you lots of information that we think will help you to manage your money better.
“The whole ethos is about putting power back in the customers’ hands so they can manage money in the way they would like to manage money as opposed to the way banks tell you to manage money.”
Ms Crosbie is confident that the new service will be well received by customers. It has been piloted with staff and received a postive response.
She said the lender has consistently invested £100m a year on technology and change in the organisation. Last year and this year, the annual investment has risenn to £150m, she added.
Ms Crosbie added: “It is my responsibility to make sure that our staff, our customers and our shareholders see the value from that and I am very convinced they well...
“One of the things customers told us is the thing they worry most about in life is money. The whole point of this to make sure customers can manage money, see what is going on, it is very transparent, it is very easy for them to use.
“So what we hope is that people will see it can help them manage their money and take some of that worry away.”
Britain’s big five high street banks are investing in new technology to keep up with fast-changing consumer habits.
But as customers choose to do more online via low-cost banking apps, they are visiting branches less. Ms Crosbie said CYBG would continue to invest in branches where it works for customers, but admitted that more would close in the future.