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Technology transformation and innovation

In 2019 we continued to make significant progress against our commitment to ensure that our services are resilient, simple and efficient, both now and in the future. We recognise that the stability, security and resilience of our technology is critical to ensuring we deliver outstanding customer service.

Running resilient services

Each year we make improvements to the resilience and availability of our services. This year, we have seen further improvement and our most critical systems have been available 99.98% of the time, whilst our Criticality 1 incidents* have further reduced from 19 in 2018 (318 in 2014) to 14 in 2019. This is a 26% reduction in incidents since 2018, and a 96% reduction since 2014.

*Criticality 1 incidents are those which have an adverse impact on the service our customers receive from the bank.

We continue to invest in the reliability of our digital services. Notably, in 2019 we have focussed on our systems offering us greater resilience and security for our customers and here are some examples which show how we have improved our digital services to ensure that customers can bank safely.

Protecting our customers

In addition to providing a resilient service, we are committed to being safe and secure for our customers. In 2019, we added the debit card lock and unlock tool to our mobile app, to accompany last year’s credit card lock, as well adding the ability to specifically prevent the use of a customer’s credit card for gambling. Additionally, we have introduced functionality so that suspected fraudulent users who apply for a credit card on an unknown device will be rejected.

Improving the customer experience through technology

We continue to improve the technology that powers our customer experience, and we lead the way on the introduction of innovative technology to ensure we respond quicker to customer needs. One example of this is our pilot introduction of Biometric Credit and Debit cards – we were the first UK bank to trial this new technology for the benefit of our customers. We also provided the UK's first biometric approval service on Bankline Mobile, for business payments of any size, which allows customers to approve their domestic payments on their Android or Apple device.

Another example of this is the piloting of the UK’s first biometric payment fob, which enables our customers to conveniently and safely make contactless payments up to £100 with just the fob and their fingerprint so no need for a PIN.

We launched the UK’s first Faster Payments clearing Application Programming Interface (API) allowing real time, 24/7 instantaneous payments capabilities for customers.

We are now providing a market leading B2B asset finance digital journey for our customers – who can now build a bespoke quote, check our business rules, add balloons, receive an interest rate tailored to their individual risk profile, and obtain an instant credit decision for transactions up to £250k.

We are the first bank on the Market to offer SONIA-based (Sterling Over Night Index Average) lending products in the market.

We are offering an Intelligent Safe cash solution providing corporate customers automated account crediting and reconciliation of cash transactions without the need to visit a branch.

We are the first high street lender to deliver paperless mortgages, with 91% of our direct applications now completed in a paperless way. This is an increase from 72% in 2018 demonstrating our relentless investment to improve the customer experience and be mindful of our environmental responsibilities.

The Home Buying and Ownership business is enjoying high levels of customer applications, demonstrating the strength of our brand in the market. Throughout a period of exceptional business volumes, we have still increased the number of customers who are benefiting from the 14 day ask-to-offer from 72% 2018 to 74% YTD.

Building innovation culture and capability

Customers expect their financial service needs to be met by organisations that are easy to interact with, error-free, and digitally secure. This is reflected in the banking regulators’ requirements to ensure banks deliver products and services in a safe and secure manner. Customers should be able to control how their data is used and the level to which it can be shared with others. They demand ongoing transparency of service and data use in our offerings both in retail and corporate banking.

In serving our customers in these ways, we leverage our growing network of global partnerships, which are part of our overall innovation ecosystem, in order to find safe, secure solutions that bring those service advantages that our customers require. Proving key to our success is the continuing importance of our Innovation Forum. This year we further invested in significant initiatives and retained our focus on our larger programmes including our new card payments offering, Tyl, and our new business banking platform, Mettle.

We remain at the forefront of customer-centric service developments including human digital interface technologies, quantum computing and distributed ledger technologies, all of which are considered critical solutions to help support our customers.