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Ubank – NAB’s digital only bank – has reached a major milestone, celebrating its first birthday since launching its new brand in market and the completion of its migration onto new technology to improve customer experience.

Ubank CEO Philippa Watson said since NAB announced the intention to acquire 86,400 in January 2021, her team has been working hard to move the bank and its customers onto a new technology platform, allowing for fast change and fresh innovation.

“With migration complete, we’re now working off a platform that can handle eight times the scale to support growth of customer numbers and deposits,” Ms Watson said.

“Ubank is attracting new customers at two to three times the rate than it was on our old platform.

“While ubank is open to anyone looking for a completely digital experience, we know our bank is particularly attractive to 18-35-year-olds.”

Targeting this tech-savvy market is working for the bank. Major achievements so far include:

  • Reaching 700,000 customers in June 2023
  • $17 billion of deposits, growing at 4.8 times system in first half of 2023

In the last quarter, 58% of new ubank customers were under the age of 35, with 28% aged between 16 and 25.

Multi-bank view – a major drawcard to the digital generation

Ms Watson said ubank knows that the digital generation typically banks with multiple institutions.

“We believe customers will bank where they want to bank and they will have logical reasons why they have accounts with three or four other banks, and we’re embracing that,” she said.

Ubank’s features including ‘Connected Accounts’ allow customers to see all their accounts with other financial institutions in one place, with personalised spending analysis such as bill prediction.

Customer engagement – measured on customers making five or more transactions per month – has increased since migration.

“We’ve seen customers turn from using ubank as their ‘rainy day’ account to being increasingly active in their transactional activity,” Ms Watson said.

Backed by NAB

NAB Chief Operating Officer Les Matheson said ubank is part of NAB’s long-term strategy to deliver a market-leading digital experience and new product propositions to customers.

“For NAB, ubank is a customer acquisition channel with a strong focus on young adults,” Mr Matheson said.

“Its growth and progress, particularly over the last 12 months, is a strong indication that it will continue to be a leading digital bank that can attract and retain customers at scale and pace.”

Attracting technology and talent

Approximately a quarter of ubank’s workforce are technologists.

As the bank continues to execute against its strategy, Ms Watson said the team is focused on being a bank for people that want to do everything digitally.

“The primary focus is having a fresh, new, modern technology platform with very little legacy systems where ubank can innovate fast to present payments, savings, every day banking options to customers,” she said.

“We don’t need to build for every single variation of product and customer, and that’s a great place to be.”

This article follows a recent interview with the Australian Financial Review, where Phillipa Watson shared her thoughts on ubank’s performance and strategy. If you have a subscription, you can read the article here: Digital banking: NAB vies to lure younger customers with ubank subsidiary

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