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Aiming to be the ‘Netflix bank’

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Clarien CEO Ian Truran talks with RG Business about the future of banking

How does Clarien Bank try to keep improving customer experience?

At Clarien, we have a purpose statement: “We make it easier for clients to navigate their financial future.” I would expect any member of staff to know that statement. 

Our first value is that we’re client-driven.

We invest in technologies to enhance products, services and efficiency. We take a client-centric approach. Our online banking tools are competitive, and our mobile app was launched last year. We have chosen best-of-breed technology partners, as I believe this is not a time to experiment.

With regard to information security, our client data are our crown jewels. We’ve invested heavily in hardening our external walls as well as information security protocol internally to make sure the crown jewels are always protected.

Are human relationships still important in banking?

Absolutely. However, clients want choice in how they interact with us. If they’re going to act through digital means, then we have to provide that choice to them. For those who don’t wish to go through that channel, we have to make alternatives available to them. So, we’ve coupled the automation with people support.

Human relationships are less important in basic transactions. For anything more complex, technology has a role to play, but you cannot totally replace humans. For example, our iTrade platform. You can totally self-direct and not interact with a person at all. However, we have two very experienced financial advisers, and you can ask their views about certain stocks or the state of the market. They can provide that value-added service that technology can’t. 

Is there more technological progress to come?

Yes. Overlaying the digital capabilities with the skills of the organisation, we can provide experiences to the customer that they didn’t even know they wanted. One of our goals is to utilise the data we have about our customers to provide services to them in a more focused way. Some clients would not wish us to use that data and will have the choice to opt out, but for those who do, we can create unique solutions based on their spending habits, or how they take advantage of financial services.

An analogy is Netflix. The TV experience was to go through the channel guide and choose what to watch. Netflix gives me mobility. I can log on anywhere. They’ll show exactly where I left off, and they’ll recommend choices for me based on what I viewed in the past. I would love to see Clarien become the “Netflix” bank offering clients financial services how, when and where they want.

How have things changed since Jamaican-born billionaire Michael Lee Chin’s NCB Financial acquired a majority stake in the bank in December 2017?

The transaction provided stability for the organisation’s future. We have now moved past integration and onto transformation. We are more focused strategically than we were able to be in the past.  

Michael Lee Chin’s ethos is allowing us to think like that. He is very entrepreneurial. One of the things he reminds us is, we must always think like it is “day one” in the organisation. Once you start thinking it’s “day two” you lose that entrepreneurial spirit and drive of “day one”.

What do you to relax?

I have two primary hobbies, both centred on family. I volunteer as president of the Bermuda Equestrian Federation, and I’m an avid equestrian supporter but do not compete. I’m involved on the organisational side. Both my boys, Casey, 18, and Christian, 17, compete and my wife is active behind the scenes as well. My second hobby is boating. So, when I’m not here and not doing chores in the stables or at the National Equestrian Centre, then you’ll probably find me on my boat. That’s my idea of relaxation. 

This article was originally published in the May 2019 edition of the RG Business Magazine.

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