NZX-listed Heartland Bank says it is evolving into a "financial technology group with a bank licence", from a conventional bank.
The company's annual report, released today, said the distinction ensures a focus on customer experience which it believes is integral to good customer outcomes.
"Our digital strategy aims to make products more easily available to customers through online channels, and to achieve low cost reach to a broad target market," Heartland told shareholders.
The bank reported that during the year it had reviewed its internal structure and established its business enablement and technology teams as separate functions to enable greater investment in those areas and to better support both the business and customers.
Heartland catalogued its digital achievements, including the roll out of biometrics, DocuSign and document uploads.
Facial recognition technology is available for identity verification, documents can be signed online via DocuSign and document upload functionality was introduced to enable easier and faster customer on-boarding.
Downloads of the bank's mobile app increased significantly with 5,900 installations, up 72 per cent since the start of 2019.
Twenty-four app updates delivered more functionality built-in and to provide greater security with PIN and fingerprint login features as well as greater access to Heartland’s products for customers.
In May 2019, the bank launched of a new savings account called YouChoose featuring an arranged overdraft and designed to provide customers with the "flexibility to save when they can and spend when they want to".
It also partnered with payments company Paymark to deliver online Eftpos to those YouChoose customers, allowing them to shop online from participating retailers without the need for a debit card.
Open for business (O4B), Heartland’s digital-led small business lending product, had also been continuously improved to ensure a "frictionless end-to-end process".
"The three minute application with real-time technology manages credit risk by reviewing a number of data points to assess the applicant’s situation and give them a more personalised response," Heartland reported.
"The number of people visiting the O4B webpages in FY2019 increased by 163 per cent, and the number of online applications increased by 160 per cent."
In partnership with Jaguar Land Rover, the bank also launched its first fully integrated online guaranteed minimum future value (GFV) calculator for a third party finance provider.
"Customers can use the calculator to generate an indicative GFV finance quote which lets them know what the minimum trade value will be at the end of the vehicle loan, provided they keep within the terms of their agreement."
In 2017, Heartland replaced its core banking software, implementing Oracle's Flexcube software.
"To deliver low cost on-boarding and transaction processing we will ensure we have the right technology and infrastructure in place to provide a seamless customer experience that ultimately reduces costs across the business," the bank told shareholders.