RBI received a record number of nominations for the 2012 Awards,
sponsored by Fiserv – almost 300 banks in total. Cutting down the
nominations to a shortlist of five for each category was no easy
task and resulted in 62 banks across the 22 categories.
Douglas Blakey summarises the best of the best




Standard Chartered (StanChart) scooped the top honour
at RBI’s
annual industry awards: Global Retail Bank of the Year.

StanChart also received the award for Best Online banking
strategy (see below).

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StanChart was a worthy winner of the main
award, having reported record income and operating profit for the
ninth consecutive year.

StanChart’s retail-focused Consumer Banking
division grew operating profit by 26% per cent to over $1.6bn
despite difficult market conditions.

StanChart’s focus on risk management resulted
in a 10-year historic low in terms of basic points of loan loss.
This, combined with successful cost management, created scope for
further investments in its distribution network, and
marketing spend during 2011.

Distribution highlights included, opening,
refurbishing or relocating more than 60 branches, and replacement
of over 400 ATMs. StanChart continued to roll out its Next
Generation branches and applying its customer-focused approach to
enhance and improve the customer experience.

The successful launch of StanChart’s Breeze
Banking mobile banking offering has been followed by the roll out
of iPhone and iPad banking applications in Singapore, Malaysia,
India, China and Hong Kong.

The Breeze mobile banking app allows its
customers to transfer funds and pay bills anywhere, anytime from
their smartphone.

Breeze is the first mobile banking app with an
e-Cheque feature which turns the smartphone into a chequebook.

Cheque details can be filled out on a
smartphone, and sent to the selected recipient on the customer’s

StanChart’s Breeze Wishlist savings feature
enables customers to set their savings targets and share their
wishes, progress and achievements via their Facebook pages.

The number of unique customers using the
Breeze suite of apps per month has grown by an average of 47% in
the second half of 2011.

Customer satisfaction is evidenced by a 60%
jump in the number of logins from July 2011 to December 2011.




Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) collected the award
for Best Retail Bank in North America.

Key strategic goals for RBC in 2011 include a
reduced efficiency ratio, a 25% premium in volume growth (relative
to the Canadian peer average) and industry leading employee
engagement and client loyalty. 

A highly disciplined approach to managing
performance against these aggressive goals has resulted in an
efficiency ratio of 44.8% in 2011, down by 700 bps from 2008.

RBC also reported a 60% premium in
year-over-year volume growth in 2011 (RBC growth of 7.7% vs. Peer
Average 4.8%).

In 2011, RBC Royal Bank also continued to grow
its market share among Canadian retail banks in key consumer and
business categories, including Consumer Lending (up 20 bps to 23.6%
share), Personal Core Deposits (up 120 bps to 21.8% share),
Personal Investments (up 10 bps to 15.8% share), and Business
Deposits and Investments (up 20 bps to 25% share).

At the same time, provision for loan losses
declined 10 bps.

RBC’s success in implementing its strategy
stems from a disciplined focus on four core customer needs:
convenience, advice, service and value for money. 

In 2011, the bank made significant investments
across all core customer needs including:

Convenience: Continuing to grow its
multi-channel delivery network by expanding branch hours of
business (the equivalent service impact of opening 120 new
branches), increasing its commissioned mortgage and investment
sales force by 10%, opening 22 new branches, equipping 1,200 branch
employees with mobile technology to meet customers outside the
branch (total mobile sales force is in excess of 5,000 employees),
and launching a fully integrated mobile banking application
available for Blackberry, iPhone, and Android.

In addition, it has the largest active on-line
customer base with more than 3.2m customers, and its integrated
call centre handled more than 100m calls in 120 different languages
during the past year.

And in late 2011, the bank announced an
innovative partnership with Canada’s largest retail pharmacy and
top retail brand, which will increase its distribution and make it
easier for clients to do their banking and earn loyalty rewards on
everyday purchases.

Advice: The ability to deliver best-in-class
financial advice is a cornerstone of RBC Royal Bank’s value
proposition, and a number of key initiatives have been launched
over the past three years to further embed this concept in its
culture and sales processes. 

These initiatives include:  the Perfect
Financial Review, which is a comprehensive financial discovery
session that sales staff have with clients; the implementation of
an end-to-end sales process that supports all branch-based
employees in delivering advice; ongoing training, coaching and
performance assessment that enable employees to develop and improve
the skills and behaviours necessary to deliver superior advice and
service; and the tracking and measurement of referrals.

During 2011, RBC Royal Bank added to these
capabilities by introducing a number of branch-based and online
tools and calculators for client use, and by launching a “retail
branch of the future” retail store concept called Retail by Design




Itau Unibanco received the regional award for
Latin America.

Itaú accounts for about 11% of the Brazilian
retail banking market and operates about 5,000 branches, over
30,000 ATMs and more than 105,000 employees throughout the
Americas, Asia and Europe

In 2011 Itau posted record net income for the
second consecutive year and a return on equity of 22.3%.

Itau’s retail banking division a major
contributor to this performance with mortgages, credit cards and
personal loans all showing strong growth leading to double digit
increase in 2011 retail banking revenues.

The bank’s total loans portfolio grew by 19.1%

The bank’s strong performance was underpinned
by good housekeeping. During 2011, the process of integration
between Itaú and Unibanco was completed and all the technology
platforms are now integrated and run in a single environment.

And in 2011, Itau cut its cost income ratio by
140 basis points to below 48%.

Itaú’s vision is to be the leading bank in
sustainable performance and customer satisfaction and in 2011 it
demonstrated strong progress towards this goal.

2011 saw Itaú Unibanco embark on a major
programme to remodel the retail service network and improve its
customers’ overall banking experience.

It has driven forward a comprehensive customer
education programme and in 2011, several campaign films and
tutorials focused on the responsible use of money, promoted across
social media networks.

With a brand value worth in excess of $20bn,
Itaú Unibanco is recognised as a key driver of Brazil’s recent
success story and increasing prominence on the world stage.




BNP Paribas Fortis received the regional award
for Europe. BNPP’s retail banking revenue grew by 8% in 2011while
retail banking pre tax profit rose by 19% in a very difficult

Cost income ratio fell by 80 basis points
despite increased sales and marketing expense.




Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) collected the award
for the Middle East.

DIB’s net profit increased by 25% in fiscal
2011while the bank accelerated its ambitious plans to expand its
physical presence across the UAE, opening seven new branches,
including the bank’s first stand-alone Al Islami Private Banking

DIB also expanded the alternative banking
channels available to customers with the launch of its Express
Banking Terminals, giving customers 24-hour access to a wide range
of banking services usually only available in branch, online or
through phone banking.

DIB is the first Islamic bank to have
incorporated the principles of Islam in all its practices. With
increasing transaction volumes and regulatory requirements,
DIB  implemented a ‘Centre of Excellence’ to eliminate its
disparate reconciliation and exception management systems and

The implementation has increased the
transparency and efficiency of its back-office financial operations
and improved its ability to deliver higher levels of customer
service through prompt enquiry resolution and improved risk
management practices.




DBS was the choice of judges for Asia Pacific.
In fiscal 2011, it increased profits by 15% in the process
reporting record earnings in excess of S$3bn, a historic first for
the banking industry in Singapore.

A number
of retail innovations were released in 2011
DBS brand new savings product MySavings

The product ensures customers enjoy high
returns without compromising their flexibility to use their

Traditionally, customers who want to enjoy
higher deposit rates have to deposit their funds in time deposits
which a impose penalty on early withdrawal. No such penalty applies
to the MySavings product.

MySavings successfully differentiated DBS from
its competitors and exceeded its new fund acquisition target; 90%
of MySavings deposits are fresh funds and one-third of MySavings
customers are new to bank.



Barclays’ subsidiary ABSA received the
regional award for Africa.

South African banks in general and ABSA in
particular remain well capitalised and have weathered the worst of
the global banking crisis with resilience. ABSA has been especially
successful in growing customer numbers, raising its cross sell
metrics and ramping up customer use of its digital channels.

In December 2011 Absa became the first South
African bank to launch a live user trial, with 500 of its own
employees, of Near Field Communication (NFC) technology on mobile

The full NFC trial has now kicked-off,
exploring the dynamics that require testing before our planned
commercial launch – potentially as early as Q3 2012. NFC-enabled
point-of-sale terminals are located at canteens and coffee shops
across the Absa Head Office in central Johannesburg.

Absa’s successful investment in digital
channels is evidenced by its success in growing mobile banking
customer numbers.

Absa’s online banking service is South
Africa’s most popular – with an impressive ZAR1trn in transaction
values processed annually, and giving its 1.25m online banking
customers access to a feature-rich transactional and personal
financial management platform.

Online transaction volumes now account for 33%
of all transactions across every channel nationwide.

ABSA has also invested in its branch network
via its ‘Test Lab Branch’ concept store, dubbed “Branch of
Tomorrow, Today.”

ABSA will use the prototype branch to develop
innovative products and processes prior to rolling these out across
its entire branch network.

According to ABSA, the aim of the initiative
is to ensure that the customer’s voice remains the driving force
behind banking initiatives.

Using this model, ABSA aims to create a more
interactive environment for customers whilst promoting and testing
new ways of banking.




Umpqua Bank, headquartered in Oregon, US, has
placed the customer at the heart of its branch network.

The bank reviewed all aspects of its branch
strategy and decided to take an innovative approach with the
opening of its first “neighbourhood store” in 2010, so as to
provide the ultimate retail banking experience for its customers.
Since then, Umpqua has continued to significantly invest in
creating an inviting and engaging customer experience that foster
community spirit. 

Umpqua  serves communities in Oregon,
Washington, Nevada and northern California. The bank has grown to
186 stores and $11bn billion in assets.

This phenomenal growth is due in large part to
its culture of service and creating a signature experience for
every customer, whether online or in one of its branches, which
Umpqua Bank calls “stores.” 

In the past year, the bank opened a newer
version of its neighborhood store with cutting-edge features
designed to provide residents with a comfortable, convenient, and
inviting banking experience.

A key component of the customer service
experience at stores involves providing an appealing physical
environment where customers truly feel welcomed.

Umpqua places a greater emphasis on retail
operations and atmosphere than traditional bank branches and
creates an intimate banking experience that incorporates
state-of-the-art technology.

One such feature, the “Discover Wall,” is an
interactive touch screen that showcases financial tools and product

The wall also features real-time information
about how Umpqua Bank is giving back to the community, while local
businesses are featured in another area of the bank.

A digital café is reserved for using the
Internet, including online banking. One of the most talked about
features is a phone that serves as a hotline to Umpqua Bank’s

The skill set of employees is a major
contribution to the customer experience and through the use of what
Umpqua Bank refers to as “universal associates,” all employees have
the ability to work in all areas. Associates are cross-trained to
be able to take care of any need a customer might have. This
practice is contrary to most financial institutions, which utilize
staff that specialize solely in one or two banking functions.

During 2011, Umpqua Bank focused on building
its technology infrastructure to ensure that the bank’s operations
are reliable and scalable.

New workstations and servers, and a
“lights-out” system that ensures a nearly worry-free back-up system
are just a few of the projects Umpqua Bank has recently

The result of the redesign by Umpqua Bank is
an experience that redefines retail banking. The bank continues to
experiment with new ideas and initiatives while rapidly expanding
its regional footprint.

In 2011, the bank opened 10 new stores in the
Pacific Northwest, launched a business banking division, and opened
new commercial lending teams and commercial banking centers in two

Innovative customer-facing applications are in
the planning stages, including solutions that help translate the
inviting atmosphere of the bank’s brick-and-mortar stores to its
online presence.




Standard Chartered describes its online
banking strategy as continuously delivering highly differentiated
and innovative products, services and superior online consumer
value propositions to serve the needs of its consumers.

It aims to deliver these online propositions
with cutting-edge customer experience within a highly secure and
trusted online environment. To achieve these objectives, it has
launched a number of online banking innovations to meet its
customers’ needs.

  1. Online Bill Payments

Many of its customers around the world use the
country online banking website as a convenient channel to pay their
bills. In countries such as Singapore and Malaysia, it has expanded
the list of online bill payees to 400 and 600 merchants
respectively, making Stan Chart the largest bill payment provider
in these two countries.

Online bill payments via bank account
registered a global growth of 13% last year; while online bill
payments via credit card increased by about 21%.

2. Global Link

All Stan Chart customers with accounts in
different countries are able to use the bank’s online banking
platform to have a consolidated view and to manage their accounts
across the world with just one online banking account. In 2011, the
number of customers using the Global Link function increased by

3. Straight-Through Processing

To provide the fastest transaction
turn-around-time possible for its customers and create operational
efficiencies, it has made funds transfers, interbank funds
transfers, bill payments and new credit card applications a
straight-through-process that is available at anytime and
anywhere.Online banking has become faster and more convenient for
its customers, and this contributed to a 20% worldwide jump in the
total number of active online banking customers last year.

4. Cost Savings

Last year, Stan Chart calculates that it saved
$10.3m based on online banking active customers of 2.23m. The bank
has been actively encouraging customers to switch from paper
statements to electronic statements, and 44% of its customers are
now receiving eStatements. This has attributed to a $10m of cost
savings in 2011.

5. Customer Feedback

Currently, the bank receives an average of
75,000 respondents each month. Negative feedback is collated and
communicated to the bank’s respective product managers and country
teams to improve their services. In January 2012, 92% of total
respondents submitted ratings that were either positive or neutral
– some of whom even share their positive reviews of our online and
mobile banking platforms on social media.




ANZ is enjoying huge success via its Go Money

While ANZ reports that its branch transactions
are declining “at the rate of around four to five percent” a year,
its digital channels are thriving

ANZ’s internet banking service had more than
5.6m registered users, who performed 146 million transactions worth
$216bn in the past 12 months.

The transaction figure was up 4% year-on-year;
the value of internet banking transactions was up 8% over the same

GoMoney, has clocked up over 600,000
registered users in the past year withANZ customers using it to
execute 20m transactions totalling over $12bn.




This award category was one of the hardest
categories to adjudge but Citi won a narrow victory.

Citi launched in the past year its Smart
Banking initiative centered around customers, built for the way
they live and designed for them to control through innovative and
interactive technology.

The smart banking branch features wi-fi,
interactive touch screens, the Citi work bench, Citi Assist –
a video conferencing service customers can use to communicate with
Citibank specialists at another location on a real time basis via
video phones – and an internet kiosk, which has state-of-the-art
computers to access external websites.

It has also thrown a huge amount of effort
into digital channels and utilised

social media effectively to improve customer
service and deal with customer complaints.

It has a dedicated workforce of 100 staff
monitoring what its cuistomers are saying about them on social
media and dealing with customer service issues.




USAA innovation efforts and processes have been described as a
successful model for how large companies should innovate.

It is arguably a role model for bank innovation with a customer
loyalty rating the envy of the vast majority of the banking

It has led the way in trying to get all of its employees at all
levels involved in the process of innovation.




Akbank’s CRM marketing vision is all about
“treating different customers differently”.

Akbank differentiates its channels, products,
services, communication, processes and prices, as well as
organisation according to customer needs.

A new generation CRM system and an enhanced
integrated marketing system was designed between 2008 and 2010, and
branded as “ATOM”.

A centralised business and technical
structure, a holistic view of the customer, and a customer centric
communication and marketing plan drove the bank’s integrated
marketing and CRM efforts.

Customers’ needs and offers related to those
needs are aligned with CRM analytical forecasts and models, while a
single communication style and history is provided in marketing

Customers are not bombarded with irrelevant
information and are only offered the product or service of their
need. With prioritisation in marketing activities, customers are
offered the “Next Best Action” (NBA) available for them at all

NBA can be described as the best offer, alert,
survey or campaign available for the customer, calculated using
customer analytics, propensities, previous responses and product
profitability in a multi-channel environment.

The NBA enables the sales force to offer the
best action possible for the customer as well as the Bank, in a
real-time fashion.

To be able to keep promises to the customers,
fulfillment processes were designed.

Automatic rewarding of customers, automatic
product and service openings and lead management between channels
are possible with the fulfillment processes.

Branch, Call Centre, ATM, Internet Banking,
POS, SMS, E-mail channels are integrated in all marketing and sales
activities and customer experience has been modified in the sense
that, a customer contact may occur in a multi-step, sequential
manner in multiple channels or finish at a single touch-point if

Several approaches were used to analyse the
customer database of Akbank. The analytics behind marketing
activities include the following:

  • Value based and behavioral clustering to segment individual and
    corporate customers, and
  • Predictive modeling (decision tree, neural network, regression,
    support vector machine, Bayesian network) to use in; cross sell
    propensity models, attrition models, channel tendencies, usage
    propensities and Customer Lifetime Value

Number of active customers increased by 2.7%
in 2011 –an increase of 152,000 clients.

Akbank’s cross-sell ratio ratio for the active
customer database, from 2.93 to 3.04 products per active customer
during 2011.

For a bank with 8m customers, the increase in
cross sell ratio means that Akbanks sold 7.2m new products sold,
with 1.1m of these products sold using ATOM.

ATOM highlights in 2011 included:

  • In 2011, Akbank customers opened 750,000 overdraft accounts
    opened with average limit of €350.
  • Pre-approved personal loans with an average value of € 6,000
    have been sold for 3.3m customers.
  • Customer response rates of 6%, with € 1.1bn of issued to
  • With more and improved predicting models at use,Akbank’s
    customer retention ratio increased from 18.4% to 18.9%.




While the majority of major banks were slow to
social media, Chase has used social media enthusiastically for a
number of years.

In the past year it has grown its Facebook
fans to around 3m fans, way in excess of any other bank.

In the past year it has run a hugely
successful campaign around its Chase Freedom credit card and the
bank hosted a sweepstake for facebook users. The grand prize was
$1m with a total prize fund of $1.25m but for Chase, the value of
the data gathered and what it is doing with the data has shown a
fantastic return.

Chase is leading the way in showing how a bank
can successfully connect with its audience through engaging social
media initiatives.




On February 14, 2011 NAB launched a very public and embarrassing
‘break-up’ from the other banking conglomerates including, ANZ,
Westpac and CommBank. 

It started with a tweet: NAB tweeted, “Sooooo
stressed out. Have to make a tough decision and know I’ll probably
hurt someone’s feelings. Arrggghhh.

People thought this was just a NAB employee who mistakenly
posted on the wrong Twitter account.  

That was until 60 videos appeared on YouTube of NAB employees
breaking up with other bankers around the country and ran a
full-page “Dear John letter” in the newspaper the very same day.

In the nest few days, NAB became the number one most trending
topic on Twitter across all of Australia and received 100,000+
visits to their break-up

Ultimately, the goal of the campaign was to change people’s
perceptions of a large bank. The real return on investment from the
campaign: a 79% increase in home loan inquiries, a 50% increase in
credit card applications and a 20% increase in new accounts.







Dare one call the Capital One deal for ING Direct in the US as a

It paid just under $9bn but aready the deal is showing up in Cap
Ones results with $1.4bn net income in the first quarter up 37%

The addition of some $84.4bn in deposits via the ING deal helped
boost Capital One’s deposits during the quarter to $216.5bn, up
from $125.4bn in the prior-year quarter – now the 6th
largest US bank by deposits




Wells Fargo has consistently blazed a trail at
the edge of the digital marketing and has spearheaded an innovative
User-Centered Design methodology tapping into innovatve link
building and search engine optimisation.

It was up against strong competiton from the
likes of Santander and HSBC which have been very energetic in
tapping into the potential of digital maketing but Wells Fargo has
shown strong results from creating excellent customer experience
that also show strong business value.




Already dominant in Russia and the wider
region with 20,000 branches, and market shares of 47.9% of retail
deposits and 31% of retail loans

Sberbank is expanding ambitiously on the
international stage.

It has expanded in Belarus, Kazakhstan, and
Ukraine with further organic growth in CIS markets among Sberbank’s
top-priority objectives in the international market. 

It is also now present in eight more markets
via its acquisition of Volksbank— Slovakia, the Czech Republic,
Hungary, Slovenia