Van Lanschot: Private Banker Meets Client Needs with iPad App
- Improve the banker’s online presence and services for customers.
- Offer more services that are attractive to all (and especially younger) generations.
- A new multi-channel solution consisting of a new secured web portal, which features a fresh look for investment portfolio viewing and upgraded personalization functionality for research and financial information. An app for iPad was also developed.
- The new portal is flexible, supporting a wide range of browser versions.
- A specific app providing advanced portfolio management services is also available for the iPad
The relationship between financial services companies and clients has undergone profound change over the last 20 years. From the introduction of ATMs in the 1980s to the first online banking applications in the 1990s, clients have very different expectations today how financial information and services will be delivered.
As one of the oldest independent banks in Europe, Van Lanschot has kept in step with client needs consistently over its long history. But even this centuries-old firm was surprised by the rapid change in customer preferences.
Early versions of Van Lanschot’s online presence were limited to online payment services and statement viewing. The firm felt customers would continue to put greater importance on private banking than online access. But it soon became clear that the next generation of customers expected a different banking experience.
Paul Timmermans, managing director at Van Lanschot, says the expansion of the firms’ client base brought in a wave of younger customers in their 30s and 40s who expected online banking services at a higher level. “These are clients who are very familiar with the online world in both their professional and private lives,” he says. “They expect to have online access to both their investment portfolio and the information that we offer them in our capacity as asset managers and investment advisors.”
Designing a future-oriented platform
Recognizing a significant change in customer needs, Van Lanschot engaged CSC to develop a new web portal. Original features such as investment portfolio viewing were given a fresh look. New features were added including access to a wide range of personalized financial information and research.
Solution architecture was designed for performance on a wide range of browsers and via mobile devices, a notable upgrade from the previous system. Every aspect of the system was designed to be as flexible and scalable as possible to accommodate ever-changing customer needs.
The firm also began anticipating additional services it could offer from its new platform as it sought to evolve a new multi-channel organization. The evolution of tablet computers presented the firm with an opportunity to extend its innovative portal services to this new class of devices.
“We saw the steady rise of mobile devices, the tablet in particular, with the iPad in the lead,” Timmermans says. “With the new portal as a base to expand from, it was clear we could immediately seize the occasion. iVan Lanschot would soon be a reality.”
The change from a face-to-face, single-channel institution to one which serves customers via multiple channels isn’t a task that happens overnight. Timmermans says it required a commitment from the firm’s business group at all stages of the process, from the original design through delivery.
Of the firm’s 140 employees, seven members of the business group provided critical validation at each step, taking a leading role on the project. The entire 10-member IT team was involved as well. The firm also supported the change with a large dose of business transformation coaching to insure everyone was prepared.
The industry quickly took note of the Van Lanschot project. Banking & Finance recognized the firm’s new portal winner of the 2011 ICT Innovation Award.
From a technical perspective, providing new functionality required the coordination of multiple technologies and companies including IBM for mainframe development, Thomson Reuters for front office software, Clear2Pay for online payment and UnifiedPost for the delivery of digital account statements.
Any undertaking of this magnitude often uncovers the need to make additional changes. Van Lanschot’s portal and iPad app development was no exception. Designs called for an update to Thomson Reuters’ eXimius front-office software and improvements to the firm’s server park, both significant projects in their own right.
CSC’s plan to make the maximum use of web services resulted in a solution based on a service-oriented architecture and a cloud infrastructure. “It was a good idea to further develop the underlying systems along with the modernization project that we carried out. Everything now runs with greater stability than ever before, exactly as an iPad user would expect,” Timmermans says.
Effective project management was a key success factor Timmermans says, noting that part of the bank’s systems is hosted at IBM and Accenture in the Netherlands. “Initially we were going to manage the project ourselves but we finally entrusted that aspect to CSC,” he says.
Offering information and research in a new way
The resulting iPad application makes Van Lanschot one of the first private banks to offer financial information and research to clients on a tablet computer. Clients receive a structured view of their investment portfolio including a clear overview of risks, returns realized, and maturities. Investors can breakdown results by region, sector, share prices and more. iPad users also have access to all the research Van Lanschot offers, anytime, anywhere.
“The whole idea fits into the concept of private banking. With Van Lanschot Private Banking Online and iVan Lanschot, we are clearly differentiating ourselves from our competitors,” Timmermans says. Recognizing the application’s popularity and client service capabilities, Van Lanschot’s Netherlands-based parent company has announced plans to make the application available to clients of other subsidiaries. “We’re quite proud that an initiative from a modest subsidiary was taken up in that way,” Timmermans says.
For Van Lanschot the success of its iPad application confirms the institution’s strategy; a multi-channel approach with a central focus on Internet access and mobility. Timmermans feels the investment continues to provide multiple returns as application use increases. “It’s ultimately about more than that,” Timmermans notes. “Our clients are just very happy that we can provide them with a solution via their iPads. And that may be the most valuable return of the project.”