Five Lloyds Banking Group colleagues were part of a group of over 80 participants from leading organisations at an event hosted by the Financial Conduct Authority, focusing on making banking accessible to over 1.5 million customers in the UK without a bank account. The ‘FCA TechSprint,’ run over two days, was a first of its kind event, bringing the regulator, large financial companies and smaller FinTech firms together in the spirit of collaborative problem solving. The event was a sprint for the finish, rewarding the team that created a product or service that best tackled the issue of accessibility of financial services in the UK.
We spoke to Robin Rouwenhorst, from Lloyds Banking Group’s Digital Inclusion team, about the event and how she contributed to out-pacing the competition!
Robin, who was the TechSprint looking to help?
The FCA has identified 11 different types of customers, such as ageing customers, disabled customers, customers who are on a low income and/or in debt, people suffering with long term illnesses and young customers, who all fall within their definition of a vulnerable customer: ‘someone who, due to their personal circumstances, is especially susceptible to detriment, particularly when a firm is not acting with appropriate levels of care.’ In short, customers that require a more focused and specific service to meet their needs.
What’s your personal interest in this space?
After joining Group Digital in October 2015 from Halifax Community Bank, I was keen to get involved in as many initiatives as I could to learn about Digital. Working in the branch network, the customer is very important to me and when I was asked to get involved in the accessibility forum, looking at making our products and services more accessible to all our customers, I jumped at the chance. A colleague, Rachel Vann, told me her first language is British Sign Language (BSL) and she shared her experiences about how life changing digital can be for people with a disability. It truly fascinated me how technology really enables great support for all customers but especially those most in need.
I am now part of the team within Digital Inclusion supporting customers who have not yet been able to understand the benefits of the game changing tool of our time – Digital. As a group we have already achieved so many great things such as launching a British Sign Language (BSL) instruction video for our deaf customers on the Lloyds Bank, Bank of Scotland and Halifax websites. In addition, Bank of Scotland has also launched the Decisions Well Made site which supports customers through different stages of their life.
What was your team’s idea and what process did you go through to develop it?
We focused on identification. Some customers can find it difficult to have the right documents in order to identify themselves in an appropriate way to access banking services. This is especially a challenge for customers on a low income, or receiving benefits or who may not have a need for more traditional forms of identification like a passport or driving licence, which both incur a cost to purchase.
We were excited to be partnered with colleagues from IProov, Fidor and HCL, who all brought different perspectives to the table. This collaboration was key in finding our solution; we incorporated IProov’s technology in to our final product. It was important to us to keep things simple; we wanted to make it really easy for customers who do not have a bank account.
What did you develop to help solve this problem and what did you enjoy most about the experience?
We developed an application called ‘BankMapper’ – a mobile app to enable customers to find solutions tailored to each of their bespoke needs.
I really enjoyed the creative side of the event, coming up with a brand and really thinking about the customer journey. I had also never pitched to a large audience before, so working with my team and coming up with a fun and engaging way to introduce our proposition was a great opportunity.
It was also a unique opportunity to work with others across different sectors and with various skillsets, which really helped in problem solving.
What was the outcome of the judging?
Our team, BankMapper, won two awards out of five – ‘Best Team’ and ‘Idea most ready to go’. We were delighted that all of the Lloyds Banking Group colleagues were represented in the winning teams including the overall winning team “SimpleBank”. Other Group Digital colleagues included Sophie Baldry, Maciej Biernat, Adrian Borkala, Ashley Patricks and Simon Tirwomwe.
Commenting on the event, Christopher Woolard, Director of Strategy and Competition at the FCA, said:
“The enthusiasm, energy and creativity shown during the event demonstrates that there is huge potential for collaboration between the FinTech community and those more established within the industry. The TechSprint was a new way of working for the FCA. Over the course of two days, participants came together to generate solutions and foster innovation at pace.”
Take a look at a FCA’s TechSprint video to find out more.