Chapter 1

Scalable Solutions

As CUA continues to evolve, we must keep finding ways to grow and innovate. Reforms that have paved the way for mutuals to access capital will significantly expand our opportunity to efficiently scale our business and serve more members. This will build upon the foundations for growth we’re already putting in place – from investing in technologies that streamline processes and improve members’ experience, to tapping into the expertise of our external partners.

Members give the mutual sector a vote of confidence to grow

In early 2019, the Australian Government introduced reforms critical to mutuals’ ability to raise capital, by being able to issue a financial instrument called a Mutual Capital Instrument (MCI). This gives organisations like ours the ability to more competitively invest, grow and innovate, ensuring sustainability for future generations of members.

At our Annual General Meeting in November 2019, 92 per cent of CUA members voted to support changes to our Constitution that enable us to raise this new form of capital in the future, while maintaining our mutual status. This member endorsement means that if a significant investment opportunity should arise – one which delivers clear benefits to CUA and our members – we could issue these MCIs to raise the required funds.

Better serving our members through technology

We are making significant investments across several critical systems to ensure we can continue to grow and meet customers’ evolving needs. A key focus of our technology improvements is the transformation of our home lending system. This will streamline the home loan journey and support faster decision-making on home loan applications for customers coming to us via brokers, direct to a CUA home lender, or via our digital self-service channels.

The first phase of the new system is on track to be delivered to our mortgage broker partners by the end of the 2020 calendar year, with other channels coming online in 2021.

We have continued to invest in modernising our technology infrastructure to deliver a secure, reliable and more seamless customer experience. Members are enjoying faster transaction times in mobile and online banking than ever before, even as the volume of our digital banking transactions hit record highs. Improved wi-fi access for members has also rolled out through our branch network.

At the same time, we are investing in industry-wide changes that will enhance experiences and security for consumers. This includes Open Banking, which will help Australians make crucial financial decisions and more easily switch between financial services providers.

We are investing in developing and implementing a cybersecurity strategy that provides continuous improvements to keep pace with fast-changing and evolving risks. This work is helping protect the safety of our members’ data and money, while also safeguarding our business from external threats. Likewise, we are strengthening our systems and protocols relating to anti-money laundering legislation, to play our role in combatting and identifying potential financial crimes.

Members benefit from timely contact centre transformation

In January 2020, we implemented a significant project to transform our CUA Direct contact centre to give us the flexibility to support growth and better meet our members’ needs now and into the future. This strategic investment included new technology and a partnership with an Australian-based third-party contact centre provider – ensuring our operations remain 100 per cent Australian-based.

In addition to supporting our team members to provide a better experience for members, the new technology was instrumental in ensuring we could quickly and easily transition to working remotely during the pandemic. A 300 per cent surge in calls in the early weeks of the COVID-19 restrictions was the ultimate test for the revamped contact centre and proved we could support our members when they needed us most.

Our contact centre is now achieving one of the highest Net Promoter Score (NPS) ratings among financial services providers nationally – showing our members are happy with the service they receive.

Robotics help streamline financial assistance

Like all financial institutions, we saw unprecedented demand for financial assistance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Recognising we needed to quickly scale up our ability to process assistance requests and provide members with reassurance and comfort, we turned to technology for a solution.

Our CUA team built a robotic process automation (RPA) within one week to process more than 1,750 straightforward financial requests for repayment deferrals – out of more than 4,000 financial assistance applications. This enabled our frontline team members to focus on supporting members with more complex circumstances and ensured a faster turnaround time on applications.