Kim Radalj (P&N Group) on Open Banking

Kim Radalj

General Manager, Strategy & Corporate Development,
P&N Group

“Open Banking is a key way for us to provide engaging digital experiences that deliver helpful insights and useful guidance.”

P&N Bank is a division of Police & Nurses Limited. As a customer-owned bank, their purpose is to enrich the lives of their customers and communities.

In November 2019, Western Australia’s P&N Bank merged with Coffs Harbour based credit union, bcu, which now also operates as a division of Police & Nurses Limited. This east-west merger brought the Group’s assets to $6 billion, with 150,000 members and operations spanning NSW, QLD and Western Australia.

The P&N Group is a valued partner of Frollo, using the Frollo PRD portal to publish their Product Reference Data APIs.

Why we wanted to talk to Kim

Since 2015, Kim Radalj has led the development and implementation of the P&N Group’s strategic planning framework with a role that demands that he keeps his finger on the pulse of market dynamics and how customer expectations are evolving. Kim is the executive sponsor for the Group’s Open Banking strategy.

What excites you about Open Banking?

As a customer-owned organisation, our core purpose is to enrich the lives of our members and their communities. At the core of our proposition is the belief in the power of the collective to enhance the value of the individual, that includes working with a range of innovative partners in an open data ecosystem to bring value-added services to customers.

What makes us different is blending the best of human relationships that traditionally sit at the core of a mutual bank, with the ability to deliver modern and contemporary digital experiences to our retail and business banking customers. In that context, Open Banking is a key pillar to improving the delivery of these more engaging digital experiences and helping obtaining customers with timely and relevant insights.

Open Banking is a tool and a framework to share data, but it doesn’t stop there. To really get the most out of Open Banking for our customers, we need to be able to bring in other technologies – like AI and machine learning – as an overall proposition to make customers’ everyday lives easier.

How does Open Banking fit into your digital strategy?

We’re currently looking at how our digital strategy will evolve over the next five years, but what it really comes down to is easy and intuitive experiences that are contextual, at the right time and provide useful insights. We need to provide our customers with more than just a list of transactions.

As COVID-19 has demonstrated life is complicated and uncertain, and it’s incumbent on us to help our customers navigate their everyday banking needs.

Where do you see the biggest opportunities for CDR within the P&N Group?

We’re particularly interested in how we can provide useful insights for customers around opportunities to make their money go further and achieving their goals faster. But data on its own does not necessarily empower people to make decisions. Just as important, if not more, is the way information is presented. Is it easy to understand, does it generate practical insights, and can it help customers make better decisions around managing their money?

Of course, Open Banking is a framework that has the potential to perform all number of benefits. We really have to listen and learn about what matters to our customers to satisfy unmet needs. The combination of real-time payments via the New Payments Platform (NPP) and the CDR could enable an enhanced overall proposition.

As technologists and bankers we can sometimes get caught up in the technology itself. Customers generally; however, want outcomes, and so our focus needs to be on how we can bring all those technologies together in a way that is useful for customers. Yes we are seeing an ongoing shift in banking towards digital, but customers still at times value human connection. So it’s about how we bring the best of technology and relationship banking principles together – that’s the kind of mutual proposition we are hoping to build over the next five years.

What’s your biggest challenge in achieving this?

Like all emerging technology, it’s hard to tell how an ecosystem like this is going to grow organically. For us, the ability to stay focussed, adapt and respond quickly to the changing market is important. It’s an exciting opportunity but we don’t know what the future holds ten years from now.

The world is becoming increasingly hyper-specialised, even in the Open Banking context. We don’t have the size or scale to do everything ourselves, so our strategy is to develop genuine partnerships and collaborations with best-of-breed providers, including fintechs, who have values and culture sets aligned to ours.

What do you expect the impact of CDR will be in three to five years? For your business, but also more generally for Australians?

There’s definitely a move towards a more efficient way of asking customers for financial information than the paper-based methods used so far. Over the past 30 to 40 years, we’ve been progressively digitising an analogue world. What I’m really excited about is how we can use a digital-first and data-first approach to reimagine what those processes and experiences could look like so that they are more convenient and efficient for customers.

Beyond that (probably in the five to ten year timeline), it’s possible to imagine a world where digital banking becomes even more interactive, such as asking for help and accessing useful guidance from virtual assistants. Who knows how an open data world will evolve, but it is an exciting proposition for customers and institutions focused on serving their customers’ needs best.

This interview with Kim Radalj was originally published in ‘The state of Open Banking in Australia (2020)‘: a comprehensive report on the state, challenges and opportunities for Open Banking in Australia, based on an industry survey and interviews with leaders in the space.

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