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CUA recognised as Australia’s mutual leader in innovation

man sitting on bed with dog sitting beside him

Australia’s largest credit union CUA has been named the Most Innovative Mutual at the RFI Group Australian Banking Innovation Awards, with the winners announced overnight at a gala awards ceremony held in Sydney.

The award recognised CUA’s role in delivering innovative new banking channels to its members, particularly the iM CUA app which was made available to all Android and Apple users in late 2018. It is the first app in Australia to allow users to select their own personal banker to assist with their banking and insurance needs. Within the first six months since its launch in November/ December 2018, around 14,000 CUA members have already downloaded the app and begun chatting to a personal banker for everything from account inquiries to applying for a home loan or health insurance policy.

CUA was also a finalist in four other categories including Best Banking App, Most Innovative Financial Institution, Best Innovation in Customer Experience and Best Everyday Banking Product.

CUA Chief Executive Officer Rob Goudswaard said the award was a credit to the entire team at CUA, as well as CUA’s innovation and collaboration partners.

“As a mutual, CUA was created by members for members and throughout our 73 years of serving members, we’ve strived to put their best interests at the heart of everything we do,” Mr Goudswaard said.

“Our passion to deliver a better member experience is the reason we invest in innovation and new technology, so we are absolutely delighted to be recognised as the Most Innovative Mutual within the banking sector.

“This award is proof that collaboration with like-minded partners is the key to smaller organisations like CUA being able to not only compete with the innovation budgets and teams of our larger banking competitors, but to lead the way.

“Innovations like iM CUA are front and centre when it comes to how CUA is working to deliver simple, competitive and effortless experiences to our members today and into the future.”

The iM CUA app was the member-owned organisation’s first initiative delivered from CUA’s collaboration with Pivotus Inc., an international collaboration with leading banking providers including US West Coast bank Umpqua and the Netherland’s de Volksbank

Late last year, US digital banking specialist Kony Inc – the provider of CUA’s new mobile banking platform – acquired Pivotus Inc., aligning the two CUA partner organisations and potentially paving the way for exciting opportunities around integrating CUA’s mobile banking and iM CUA apps in the future.

The key feature that differentiates iM CUA from other instant messaging apps in the financial industry is the ability for members to select their own personal banker who gets to know them and supports them with their banking and insurance requirements every time they use the app.

“iM CUA is different to other banks that have chat-based apps, in that it’s the only app in Australia where you know you are chatting to the same personal banker every time you log on – they get to know you and you can build a more personal connection,” Mr Goudswaard said.

“It offers the convenience of modern technology with a distinctly human touch.”

Mr Goudswaard said CUA has been investing heavily in its technology and innovation projects to ensure the member-owned organisation can provide the best possible member experience.

“These investments started with a new core banking platform six years ago and more recently, they have included delivering digital wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay, CUA’s payments capability including being an early adopter of fast payments through the New Payments Platform and piloting solutions using artificial intelligence and robotics.

“Awards like these are a credit to the entire team at CUA, our management and our CUA Board who have the courage to invest and take risks on new technologies for the benefit of our members. They are also a testament to the importance of our many external partners who help CUA to punch above our weight in our adoption and use of technology.”