Citizens Bank is overhauling its 17-year-old mobile app, a move that should improve both the customer experience on the front end and speed product development on the back end, Chief Experience Officer Beth Johnson told Bank Innovation.
“Our platform for our existing mobile is a legacy platform that we have had since 2003 and it works well, but we’re investing in a modern platform that can develop more rapid innovation,” Johnson said. For instance, an enhancement that took one month on the old platform was completed in one week during testing on the new system.
The revamped app, initially slated for a summer release, was delayed due to the pandemic, and the bank, which has $176.7 billion of assets, plans to launch the new app next quarter, Johnson said. The new app will be faster and have simpler navigation, she said. The new products and “major innovation” will occur after the app release, using the “fast follower” approach to develop new technology for a customer base that is already familiar with the initial upgrade.
It took Citizens about three years to go through the process of installing this new mobile technology.
Citizens said it plans to leverage agile methodology to add new features to the app, looking at the innovation in customer journeys rather than by product line. Eventually, Citizens plans to leverage the tech platform, provided by Backbase, across “all our digital channels,” Johnson said.
“We’re going to start operating on one digital platform that will enable our mobile channel later this year, our online banking channel, and then any others we want to be able to leverage, which is the strength of the platform,” she said, noting the company is working toward an omnichannel framework.
Currently, Citizens is conducting an internal pilot of the new application with employees. The customer-facing beta period, initially scheduled for this month, was pushed back amid the high volume of customer inquiries flooding its call centers and the pandemic market disruption.
“Whenever you launch a new app, it’s different and people get concerned, so we needed to let things calm down a little bit before the full launch,” Johnson said.
Backbase is a banking-as-a-service provider that offers products across retail, SME, corporate and wealth management. The Atlanta-based company works with financial institutions that include RBC, HSBC, Citibank and National Bank of Abu Dhabi, and partners with tech vendors, such as Mambu, Amazon Web Services, IBM and Microsoft.
During the next year, “you’ll see a big push from us in continuing to invest in mobile, and particularly in the digital channel,” to respond faster and smarter to changing customer needs, Johnson said.
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