An exciting first for the Society
Being the CEO of a 170-year-old financial services organisation is a huge privilege. It is also a huge responsibility, but with great responsibility comes great opportunity and today, the Society has celebrated an exciting first - we have launched our first app. Interestingly, back in 1983, we were the first to launch online banking in the UK, so I’m proud to be at the helm as we come full circle and bring the fruits of our labour to the next generation of savers.
It’s a very proud day, not only for me as CEO but our whole team as we know that with our app, what we’re delivering is a cornerstone of a sustainable business, that we believe will enable us to be around, serving members, for the next 170 years and beyond.
We have a long and proud history of adapting our business to remain relevant. In the last decade as CEO, this has meant investing in our branch network to provide more than our own mortgages and savings account. From a whole-of-market mortgage advice offering that we introduced in 2014, to a range of other services provided through carefully selected partners so we could deliver our purpose of helping our members save, plan for and protect their financial futures. All these initiatives have been greeted well by our members and played a part in our success.
To grow our membership and serve them in the right way, adaptation and reinvention is a constant and we rely on data and analytical insight to give us an edge and reveal the opportunities that are there for us. We must make the smartest decisions when we’re investing our member’s money, because that’s the thing - as a building society, we’re a mutual owned by our members. We’re custodians of the capital that has been built up over the years, so it’s important that’s invested in the right way.
We’re clear on our purpose but we focus our strategy on remaining relevant - especially to our savers. Afterall, savers chose us and in order to continue being chosen by future generations of savers, investment in digital is essential alongside our branch programme.
But it has to be done in the right way. Digital reinvention is not easy. Launching an app for the sake of having an app was not a path we wanted to go down. We had our sights set high and although it required significant investment, we had to be brave and made the decision to work with a market-leading partner in this space - which was Salesforce.
Looking back, that was the right decision, as we’re really confident that what we are launching and what we have planned for the Beehive Money app will deliver on the expectation of a digital first generation of savers. It’s also something Salesforce are equally proud of and we made a great partnership. The benefit to them was that we are small enough to do things differently without taking too much resource, yet our ambitions are big enough that they were able to add value to help create something original and exciting for a mutual organisation, and the industry as a whole.
Users of the app will be able to save, set their own savings goals and track their progress as well as using innovation they expect, such as digital identity verification, webchat and an AI-driven chatbot. But we haven’t stopped there. Later this year we will combine all this with digital-led mortgage advice from Mortgage Advice Bureau, bringing 12,000 mortgage products from over 90 lenders to our member’s fingertips thanks to our partnership with Belvoir Group. As one of the handful of cash Lifetime ISA providers, we know there’s huge appetite for this. We have over 50,000 LISA customers and the majority of those are saving to buy a first home, so the opportunity here is vast and that’s just a taste of what’s to come.
So, these are the reasons today is a proud day for me and the wider team at The Nottingham. It would be remiss of me not to thank all those who’ve been part of this journey, to those who work hard every day to make sure the society thrives today and those helping us build a society for the future. Today is not just the day we launch our first app, but it’s a day we demonstrate that building societies are relevant and competing in the digital world.
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