Standard Chartered Bank is an international bank with 1,800 branches on six continents, dozens of recent industry awards and steadily increasing profits through organic growth and acquisitions. iPhone and iPad provide a perfect platform to expand the bank’s mobile services, both internally and to its increasingly tech-savvy customers.
In the wake of the 2009 global financial crisis, Standard Chartered Bank immediately set to work reinforcing customer relationships. “As a leader in the industry, we needed to regain customer confidence,” says Mary Huen, Head of Consumer Banking in Hong Kong. “And rebuilding that confidence is not about just pushing products and services — it’s about using the best technology to foster deep, long-standing relationships with our customers. It’s about helping them manage their money better.”
iPad and iPhone enable the bank to forge new customer connections and strengthen existing bonds. “With iPhone and iPad, we’re really looking at the next generation of banking,” says Todd Schofield, Global Head of Enterprise Mobility at Standard Chartered Bank. “Managing our customers’ money is a responsibility we take very seriously, and our mobile services reflect that.”
Todd Schofield, Global Head, Enterprise Mobility, Standard Chartered Bank
With a particular focus on Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Standard Chartered sees immense potential to expand its mobile banking services among its increasingly tech-savvy customers. For consumers, the bank has developed Breeze, a suite of mobile banking and lifestyle applications. Corporate customers use the bank’s Straight2Bank platform, which includes a mobile authorisation app that gives corporate treasurers better control over transactions.
Internally, Standard Chartered has already deployed thousands of iPhones to employees worldwide. “For us, the obvious choice was iPhone,” says Jan Verplancke, group CIO, Standard Chartered Bank. “iPhone creates an environment that’s easy. You can tap into the mobile world and bring applications to people on the go.”
Jan Verplancke, group CIO, Standard Chartered Bank
The bank is also rapidly expanding its internal iPad usage to help personalise customer service and simplify everyday business activities. “Standard Chartered is at the forefront of innovation,” Huen says. “iPad helps us innovate by improving the way we interact with customers and provide services. Now we can be with our customers wherever they want to be in the branch.”
As one of the first and largest corporate banks to standardise on the iPhone, Standard Chartered Bank has developed more than a dozen in-house iPhone apps, which qualified employees can download from an internal app store, the Standard Chartered App Centre. These custom-built apps streamline internal processes, securely transmit financial data, improve communication between customers and banking staff, and even tap into back-end systems such as PeopleSoft and SharePoint for management approvals and collaboration.
One example is the bank’s proprietary TradePort app, which enables Trade Finance relationship managers to securely perform or monitor trades on the go using their iPhones. Another valuable app is FX Rates, a real-time foreign exchange tool that shows Standard Chartered Bank’s own internal rates and ratios between currencies. “With FX Rates, a person in our trading room has up-to-date, holistic views of our exchange rates at any given time,” Verplancke notes.
In Hong Kong, one of its largest markets, Standard Chartered Bank uses iNeeds, a customised iPad app that lets relationship managers in bank branches create client profiles and explain the benefits of products such as savings accounts or mortgages via direct, one-to-one interactions. With iNeeds on iPad, bank employees gain a clearer understanding of customer priorities and can offer more relevant products.
“iPad redefines the way our relationship managers connect with their customers,” Huen says. “With iNeeds, they’re able to introduce products in a more engaging way, while deepening their understanding of that customer’s needs at that point in time. Together they can work on customised solutions on the spot. Everything becomes very simple, effective and user-friendly.”
Mary Huen, Head of Consumer Banking, Hong Kong, Standard Chartered Bank
To develop its internal apps, the bank relies on a small team of programmers, graphic designers and interface experts — and the tools and guidelines included in the iOS Software Development Kit (SDK). “The SDK is very standardised, which means that our apps are more stable and consistent across many different apps,” explains Schofield.
With a world of sensitive financial and personal data to protect, Standard Chartered is vigilant about security on its mobile devices. “We are a bank, in the end, so security is of utmost importance,” says Verplancke. “As we are present in different markets, different regulations apply to us, so we always take the highest common denominator on security.”
Fortunately, iPhone and iPad are up to the task. “iPhone and iPad allow us to securely restrict our internal systems with VPN access,” Schofield says. “We use the encryption that’s built into iPhone and iPad, and we use our Exchange servers to implement security policies such as remote wipe.”
The bank also offers enhanced mobile security features for its customers, such as text messages confirming cashpoint activity. “Our job is to give people the tools that allow them to feel secure and counteract fraud,” Verplancke explains. If a customer gets a message about a transaction he or she didn’t make, “one tap on your phone and you’re connected to our customer service department, which will block that transaction.”
With the security, convenience and ease of use that iPad, iPhone and customised apps bring to its operations, Standard Chartered is well prepared for the challenges — and opportunities — of this new era of banking. The bank has begun introducing location-based services to its mobile capabilities, and is exploring new features like augmented reality to make the user experience more profound.
“A lot of the things that we’re doing existed before,” Verplancke reflects. “It’s just that you couldn’t put them together in an easy way. And that has a value. We want to be on the forefront with devices that clearly are on the forefront of it all: iPhone and iPad.”