Westpac makes $84m from digital sales

Digital transformation continues at bank

Westpac Banking Group (ASX: WBC) made $84 million from digital sales in the financial first half of 2015 according to earnings results out today.

Digital sales now make up 13.3 per cent of total retail sales. This includes digital transactions and online loans.

The bank revealed it had 4.07 million digital customers; an increase from 3.97 million in the second half of 2014.

3.1 million consumers have migrated to the bank’s online banking platform, Westpac Live, while 300,000 businesses were migrated to the platform.

The bank has 2.6 million active mobile customers.

“We have made great progress on building world class digital platforms for our customers. We have been re-configuring our branch network and simplifying products and processes,” said Westpac CEO Brian Hartzer on an earnings call.

“We are improving services for customers by rolling out video conferencing facilities to our branches in Australia. More recently, we have made $30 billion of pre-approved lending available to our SME customers across the Westpac branch using technology.”

This is through an online lending application tool called LOLA for local business bankers providing them with more customer information, approved limits and maturing facility information.

The bank is continuing to shift away from manual transactions such as phone services to online and smart ATMs.

The next stage of its digital transformation is a customer service hub that will improve efficiency and support the service focused strategy. For example, systems are in place to deliver information on next best offer and notifications to help customers manage their finances such as due payments.

Further development is underway to deliver improved customer insights and more personalised offers, said the bank.

An integrated wealth system called Panorama, which is designed to transform how customers manage, build and protect their wealth, is being progressively rolled out.

Turning to infrastructure, an upgrade to data centres has enabled the further closure of two data centres, one located in East Chatswood and the other in Kent Street, Sydney.

This is part of the bank’s program to consolidate nine data centres around Australia down to two Sydney-based data centres.

Hartzer also mentioned the bank’s Asian digital transformation.

“We have completed technology foundations including global trade platform and core banking systems. We are now offering faster end-to-end processing,” he said.

Westpac is building capabilities and capacity in Asia to “seamlessly connect” its customers to the increasing flows of global trade, capital and people between A/NZ and Asia.

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