Partner: Westpac Banking Corporation
Date: March 01, 2017 – June 30 2020
Grant: USD $1.5 million
Target: 15,000 (pilot) and 100,000 – end of project
Current reach: 50,655 (As at June 2018)
Less than 10% of the population in the Highlands are accessing formal financial services. Highlanders incur the same costs as all low-income populations who do not have access to financial instruments to deal with short-term liquidity needs, savings, risk mitigation, and investment credit.
This project aspires to create solutions to these financial management needs, and therefore improve the economic efficiency of individuals and their households. By September 2018, the project hopes to provide financial services to 100,000 underserved customers, and at least 50% will be women.
The project will employ human-centred design tools and experts to create services that inspire enthusiastic adoption and usage by Highlands’ dwellers, women, and smallholders in particular. An estimated 80% of the clients are expected to be engaged in agriculture activities for their livelihoods.
The operational structure will be developed to deliver the necessary service quality with a commercially viable cost structure. This entails a significant re-engineering of current Westpac Instore operating systems and procedures related to customer acquisition, cash merchant network management, service delivery and back office administration
This project supports an ‘Innovation Lab’ that will design, test and validate a financial service delivery model for the low-income Highland population. The Lab team will first enroll 30,000 customers onto the Westpac Instore digital banking platform and expand the network of cash merchant network in the Mt Hagan area. The team will then use this testing arena to develop products and services for the largely low-income, rural people of the Mt. Hagen area. This will involve significant design and system development work in every aspect of the Instore platform. The project will run for 18 months.
The Innovation Lab will operate parallel to current Westpac Instore operations. The Westpac Instore team will manage current operations and focus on reaching their own business targets for enrolling 100,000 customers and generating 650,000 transactions in the Instore channel by Sep. 2018. They will do this by supporting current Instore operations in the Westpac branch network. At the same time, the Innovation Lab team will focus on creating a compelling customer experience that will enhance sign up, adoption and continued usage of Westpac services. They will do this by designing and testing various procedures, systems, pricing, products and services with the target customers. As the product tests are validated, the Instore team will incorporate them into the larger Westpac operations, thereby enhancing the scale of the impact to the national level.
The Lab will also focus on creating financial solutions for priority segments, especially women and small-holder farmers. The Hub will conduct tests to make the financial services and the agency channel ‘women-friendly,’ addressing the challenges of security and economic marginalisation.
In the PFIP Learn-Test-Scale project framework, the Highlands Innovation Lab is a test project. The Lab team will use design tools and processes to build the components of a financial service delivery model. Project activities will focus on customer research, product development and rapid prototyping of solutions that improves the customer experience with the channel. Successful solutions will be developed to the point that they can be scaled up by Westpac.
Westpac Group’s portfolio of financial services brands and businesses is focused on our vision to be one of the World’s great service companies, helping our customers, communities and people to prosper and grow.
From ensuring consumer customers can save and invest with confidence, to serving the financial needs of multi-national corporate, institutional and government clients, we put our customers at the centre of everything we do.
In supporting our vision, our structure is designed to align our divisions with key customer segments. The structure involves 5 key divisions including: Consumer Bank, Business Bank, BT Financial Group, Westpac Institutional Bank and Westpac New Zealand. Through these 5 divisions we serve over 13 million customers.