Branching out: how mobile apps are redefining member engagement

Matt Elliott, Head of Cloud Operations, Sopra Banking Software (Chair)

Darren Garner, Finance Director, Newbury Building Society

Barry Carter, Chief Executive Officer, Hinckley & Rugby Building Society

Monique Silva, Head of Information Technology, Progressive Building Society

Trends change. There is a lot of competition. And with financial and economic instability impacting people everywhere, one of the constants is the adoption of mobile banking. 71% of customers access their bank accounts via mobile apps. But while this presents opportunities to reach the remaining 29%, understanding the barriers preventing nearly a third of customers from managing their money with their phone is key.

Trust, literacy, and value. Mobile banking is a necessity, yet a lack of technical literacy means some people fall behind. This is where building societies can help: the sector’s USP is its sense of community. It has the power to improve financial and technical literacy, as well as to help and inspire its members.

Two years ago, offering a mobile app was a nice to have; now, it’s essential. One of the key challenges to understanding member engagement is translating the personal touch branches provide in a digital format. It’s clear that consumer expectations are increasing: there is less tolerance of unreliability, and your customer journey needs to be seamless. Personalising that experience without overcomplicating it is the goal.

An omnichannel approach could help maintain inclusivity whilst keeping up with digital innovation. For some, this means continuing to invest in branches and offering passbooks; for others, it means having the right automated processes in place that complement human customer support. 

Digitalisation should be an enabler that is embedded into the customer journey rather than a separate offering. For this approach to thrive, the business needs to support a culture of continuous improvement and collaboration. Leverage existing system capabilities, ask consumers what they want, and examine the data. That will help you know your audience, know the value proposition, and then execute it really, really well.