​Suncorp to focus on customers with banking overhaul complete

Suncorp Group has announced its completion of the delivery of its new core banking platform dubbed Project Ignite.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor on

Suncorp Group has announced that with the completion of Project Ignite, which saw the delivery of a new core banking platform, it will now focus on using the infrastructure as the foundation to grow more so-called connected customers.

Suncorp CEO and managing director Michael Cameron said the organisational restructure, completed in early July, has positioned the business to deliver on its strategy.

"We have completed our transition to the new operating model, removing structural constraints to enable the business to deliver its unique customer marketplace strategy," he said.

"The Suncorp strategy focuses the business on elevating the customer to drive growth and increase resilience to volatility. The benefits of this strategy will continue to be seen over the medium term."

On Thursday, Suncorp Group reported that for the 2016 financial year, it achieved a net profit after tax (NPAT) of AU$1.03 billion, down slightly from AU$1.1 billion reported a year ago.

Suncorp Bank reported NPAT of AU$624 million for the financial year, down year on year from AU$756 million.

Meanwhile, the group's hardware, software, and dataline expenses came in at AU$47 million for FY16, up from AU$42 million in FY15.

Earlier this year, Suncorp Group outlined its technology program, which it said would help the company reap AU$170 million in efficiency benefits by the 2018 financial year.

The delivery of its technology optimisation program builds on the group's plan to configure itself into a "One Company. Many Brands" business model.

The new platform now supports customer, collateral, collections, and loan origination processes, the bank said, noting that deposit and transaction banking will also be moved into the new system in early FY17.

Additionally, the bank said it will continue to work on decommissioning its legacy systems through the 2017 financial year, believing it will drive the bank's cost-to-income ratio towards 50 percent.

In May 2014, the company announced that it was dedicating an estimated AU$270 million to change the bank's core banking system.

At the time, Suncorp Bank chief John Nesbitt described the project as "more than just a technology project", but rather a complete transformation of the bank.

"Ignite will future proof the bank," Nesbitt said.

Looking forward, Suncorp said the next phase of its strategy will be to grow its connected customers, which currently make up a third of all Suncorp customers. The bank said it plans to grow numbers by using insights to deliver personalised services, and create a Suncorp marketplace, which it believes will help customers "navigate complexity, make better choices, and allow them to interact with the group in any way they choose, through both digital and physical channels".

"The new operating model puts the customer at the centre of everything Suncorp does ... the group's customer experience team uses data, insights, and forward-looking analytics to inform product innovation and marketing strategies to ensure Suncorp is at the forefront of satisfying evolving customer needs," it said.

The bank also plans to deliver more digital services and accelerate its investment in internet banking and mobile applications. This will be in addition to features the bank has already introduced, such as the launch of fingerprint login for internet banking and interactive branches.

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