Suncorp opens the doors of its Sydney Discovery Store

Suncorp has opened their Discovery Store in Sydney’s CBD. It is designed as a flexible, customer centric space, including third party brands and will be open 7 days a weeks. It will be interesting to see how this move fairs against the strong drift to digital based banking which we are observing, but some might draw parallels with the tech-sector retail flagships; we will see.

You can read more about customer channel preference in our recently published The Quiet Revolution Report, available for free, on request.

Customers will be treated to a unique retail experience, a first of its kind for financial services in Australia, with Suncorp opening the doors to its new Discovery Store in Sydney’s Pitt Street Mall today.

The Suncorp Discovery Store is designed to be a destination for customers, where they can access end-to-end solutions tailored to their life events. It draws on all of Suncorp’s brands as well as our innovative third-party providers. Discovery Store delivers an immersive retail journey, where visitors can attend events, interactive workshops and explore solutions tailored to their life goals.

Suncorp CEO Customer Marketplace Pip Marlow said it will be a new experience, which is designed to make financial solutions simpler and more accessible.

“We’re shifting the focus from products and services, to having  conversations that are more about our customers’ aspirations, whether it’s home ownership, saving for a holiday or buying a car, so we can create value for them,” Ms Marlow said.

The store lay-out has been designed with a range of flexible spaces and interactive digital tools, built around a central amphitheatre.

Each month the entire space will be transformed to deliver a brand-new customer experience, with innovative product showcases, guest speakers and workshops focused on improving financial wellbeing.

“We want visitors to really take advantage of the space, drop in, have a coffee and wander around to see what’s on offer. Pitt Street Mall is one of Australia’s busiest retail precincts. It’s not just a place to shop, but also where people socialise and immerse themselves in new brands and experiences,” Ms Marlow said.

The Discovery Store will be open 7 days, including late trading. The upper level of the store is dedicated to customer conversations, learning and interactive workshops, while downstairs provides transactional banking services and access to other financial services specialists.

Key features:

  • First of its kind financial services offering to open in Pitt Street Mall.
  • Access to the breadth of Suncorp’s brands, products and services, and third-party partner solutions.
  • Suncorp’s Australian brands: Suncorp (Insurance and Banking), AAMI, GIO, Bingle, Apia, Shannons, Terri Sheer, CIL, Vero, Asteron Life and Resilium.
  • Convenient trading hours: open 7 days and open for late trading. Spans 446 square metres.
  • A community hub with free wi-fi and coffee.

Suncorp Update To 30 Sep 2017

Suncorp provided its statutory quarterly update today under Australian Prudential Standard 330.  The bank appears to be travelling well, with a growing loan book across both home and business lending.  Bad debts are low, though there was a rise in past due in the QLD and NSW mortgage books. Capital is under pressure because of the loan growth.

They say that total lending grew 2.4% over the quarter, primarily due to strong home lending supported by improved capability, simplified processes and improved retention. The home lending portfolio grew by $1.1 billion. Year-on-year investor lending grew  7.6% and new interest-only lending of 29% was achieved for the quarter.

More than half of all lending is located within Queensland ($28.9 billion of $54 billion).$44 billion are retail loans and Business Lending, including Agribusiness was $9.8 billion.

Credit quality performance remains strong with impairment losses of $5 million, or 4 basis points of gross loans and advances (annualised). Higher arrears reported in the second half of the 2017 financial year relating to changes in hardship operational practices and processes are stabilising, as the temporary impacts of the revisions have normalised.

They say retail lending past due loans grew by $7 million over the quarter, reflecting slightly higher home lending past due loans in QLD and NSW.

The Bank has maintained its measured approach to managing funding and liquidity risk ensuring a strong and sustainable funding profile that supports balance sheet growth. This includes the successful issuing of a $1.5 billion capital effective Residential Mortgage-Backed Security
(RMBS) transaction, which further supports stability as reflected in the Net Stable Funding Ratio (NSFR) position, estimated to be 113% as at 30 September 2017.

Following the payment of the final 2017 financial year dividend to Suncorp Group, Banking’s Common Equity Tier 1 ratio of 8.77% reflects a sound capital position within the operating range of 8.5% to 9.0%.

The main risks are a declining property market or higher than anticipated cyclone claims.


Suncorp Introduces Samsung Pay

Suncorp has announced that customers with a Suncorp Clear Options Credit Card can now access Samsung Pay.

Suncorp Executive General Manager Deposits & Investments, Bruce Rush, said the introduction of Samsung Pay was the first step in Suncorp’s plan to enhance its digital payment offering.

“As we move to an increasingly cashless society, we know that our customers need more efficient and sophisticated technology, including digital wallets,” Mr Rush said.

“From 27 September, 2017 all customers with a Suncorp Clear Options Credit Card, and compatible Samsung device, will have the option to use Samsung Pay.

“We will continue to invest in our payment technologies and are committed to delivering new services that our customers want and need.”

Samsung Pay is a secure and easy-to-use mobile payments service available on compatible Samsung devices, including the recently released Galaxy Note8. Head of Mobile Payments at Samsung Electronics Australia, Mark Hodgson, said Suncorp and Samsung are committed to improving customer experience through innovation.

“With Samsung Pay, Australians are provided with the convenience, security and choice to undertake everyday tasks when transacting,” Mr Hodgson said. “In addition, Suncorp Clear Options Credit Card cardholders can now benefit from Samsung Pay’s unique features, such as our three-layered security system, and can enjoy using the service anywhere you can pay with a contactless credit card.”

Access to Samsung Pay only applies to Suncorp Clear Options Credit Card cardholders and does not include Suncorp debit cards.

Suncorp Lifts Interest Only Loan Rates

From Australian Broker.

Suncorp has today announced it is introducing new pricing methodology for interest only home lending.

Banking & wealth CEO David Carter said the bank currently calculated interest only rates based on the purpose of the loan, but would now also take into account the type of loan repayment.

“Currently, our interest only home lending is priced at the same rate as principal and interest home lending, however following recent changes in the market we have made changes to our systems to differentiate between borrowers repaying interest only, and those repaying principal and interest,” Carter said.

“This change is important as it will ensure the bank can maintain its position relative to regulatory requirements.

“With the market having effectively repriced interest only lending, and with some lenders having opted out of certain aspects of the market, it’s important for us to also support the focus on this type of lending.

“We are writing to customers this week to advise them of this change and the new interest only rates, which will come into effect on 1 November, 2017.

“As recently announced, we have launched a number of special offers, as well as reductions to some of our fixed rates, giving customers greater choice if they are wanting to move to a principal and interest product, and customers asking to switch will not be charged a fee for doing so.”

Suncorp says it recognises that increases in interest rates have an impact on customers with rate increases that remain below most other lenders. Variable interest rates on existing owner-occupier interest only rates will increase by 0.10% p.a and variable interest rates on all investor interest only rates will increase 0.38% p.a., effective 1 November, 2017.

Despite the changes, Suncorp says that its rates remain highly competitive with the majority of customers continuing to pay rates well below the headline, due to the various features and benefits of the bank’s products.

Variable interest rates on existing principal and interest owner-occupier and investor rates remain unchanged. Pricing for interest only construction loans also remain unchanged.

Suncorp removes ATM fees

Suncorp will remove fees for all non-Suncorp customers so that no  customer pays an ATM fee anywhere in Australia.

Suncorp Executive General Manager Deposits & Investments, Bruce Rush says the change will deliver greater value to all banking customers while increasing the availability of fee-free ATMs across the country.

“Suncorp supports fee-free ATMs and we will implement this change in early December to coincide with other positive changes, including updating technology and enhancing customer experience which is already planned for our ATM network,” Mr Rush said.

“It is great to see all Australians benefit and we are especially pleased for Suncorp customers who live in locations where there are limited options to withdraw cash.”

Suncorp Cuts New Mortgage Rates

Suncorp has unveiled a number of discounts on its investor and owner occupier loan products in response to being awarded Bank of the Year – Fixed Rate Home Loan by CANSTAR.

Effective from today (12 September), the bank’s Investment Home Package Plus two and three year fixed rates will drop by 0.20% p.a. and 0.30% p.a. respectively, bringing both rates to 4.29% p.a.

The follow additional special offer discounts for new standard variable lending will also come into effect today:

Back to Basics LVR New Loan Amount Current new business interest rate Additional discount Special discounted rate
Owner-occupied ≤90%
(inclusive LMI)
≥$150,000 3.78% p.a. 0.10% p.a. 3.68% p.a.
90% – ≤95% (inclusive LMI) 4.03% p.a. 0.10% p.a. 3.93% p.a.


Back to Basics LVR New Loan Amount Current new business interest rate Additional discount Special discounted rate
Owner-occupied ≤90%
(inclusive LMI)
≥$150,000 3.89% p.a. 0.10% p.a. 3.79% p.a.
First Home Buyers
≤95% (inclusive LMI) ≥$150,000 3.89% p.a. 0.10% p.a. 3.79% p.a.

In addition to the fixed rate award, Suncorp also received a five star rating for two of its home loan products:

  • Bank to Basics Owner Occupied Construction Loan
  • Home Package Plus Owner Occupied Fixed Rate Loan

“The CANSTAR award and five star ratings are further confirmation that we are offering products that deliver value for our customers,” said Suncorp banking & wealth CEO David Carter.

“In June this year, we announced some changes to interest rates to give additional support to customers in the owner-occupied market, and from today I am pleased to say we will go further. This is a reflection of recent reductions to fixed rate funding costs, allowing us to lower our two most popular fixed rate loan products for investors.”

The rate changes and special offers come into effect in what is traditionally a busy season for home buyers, he added.

“Customers who take advantage of these offers will also have the convenience of being able to access more than 3,300 fee-free ATM’s, as part of Suncorp’s new partnership with the rediATM network.”


Cross-selling ‘doesn’t work’, says bank CEO

From The Adviser.

Suncorp Group CEO Michael Cameron has suggested that cross-selling products to customers “doesn’t work”, but has touted the group’s new Marketplace model as being of benefit to brokers and customers alike.

Speaking after the release of the group’s full-year financial results, the CEO and managing director of the Suncorp Group said that its Marketplace model—which brings together products and services from across the company’s brands, including Suncorp, AAMI, GIO and Apia, as well as solutions from other providers—aims to provide customers with the option to find, use and buy additional services without being actively “cross-sold”.

The model takes advantage of the group’s buying and procurement power to give its customers access to a range of services and goods (such as car hire) from outside the group.

In a media briefing, Mr Cameron explained: “[The] traditional cross-sell doesn’t work. It hasn’t worked in Australia or anywhere else in the world. That goes along with both insurance and finance [products], which are really about creating value from your customers. But we are about creating value for our customers by providing access via call centres, apps, over-the-counter advisers, etc., to a huge suite of products and services and brands that we don’t manufacture or we bring from outside of the organisation.”

Mr Cameron added that the Marketplace model goes as far as potentially providing access to “many of [the group’s] competitors products”.

According to the group CEO, this Marketplace model, and associated app, is in the process of being rolled out to intermediaries, including brokers, and could benefit their business.

When The Adviser asked Mr Cameron about Suncorp’s broker strategy and remuneration, he said: “It is a very important area and I think if I look at it from a regulator’s perspective, there has been a lot of focus on reward and performance around some of the third-party intermediary distribution.

“Most brokers or distributors in this area tend to be very singularly focused on a particular product and very much shop around for various deals across the industry. By providing the Marketplace capability not only to ourselves, but to our intermediaries and our partners, we are actually able to put them into a position where they can provide a broader range of products and services with different brands. [This is] very much a complimentary type of service[s] that will allow more of a journey of buying a home, rather than just simply getting a loan.”

He added: “What we are going to be doing is putting into the hands of our intermediaries the skills, capabilities and, more importantly, the platform to be able to broaden that service that they provide to their ultimate customer.

“That is quite exciting, and I think the customers will be the real winners. And I also feel . . . that it is the sort of thing that our regulators will be pleased about as well as we create [model] for our customers rather than from our customers.”

The Suncorp CEO said that it is working on the Marketplace “single digital experience” (and will be investing an additional $100 million [after tax] to deliver the “key components” of this in the coming financial year), which is already being rolled out to the broker network.

He said: “We are already starting to roll out, through parts of our network, some of those benefits to our brokers today, and it will probably be never-ending. . . . We will continue to add access to a variety of products and services.”

While the group has been investing heavily in the Marketplace model and technology, the endeavour has not been without its hurdles.

The bank’s migration of loans and lending origination to the core banking platform, supplied by Oracle, began last year but has “taken longer than expected to fully embed and adapt for use in the Australian market”.

The group has revealed that while it will soon complete the final migration phase for the remaining retail loans, it will then “pause the migration of deposits and transaction banking products, pending further system enhancements from the vendor”.

Speaking at the briefing on 3 August, Mr Cameron said: “Just in relation to Oracle and our relationship there, what we have chosen to do with just a small group of our products is to leave them running on the old system rather than take a chance or risk in actually launching on a new platform.

“At the end of the day, the customer experience is what counts. We don’t want to be in a situation where we are getting outages, so all we are really doing is waiting for a new version of the same software to be released, which incorporates the sorts of things that we want rather than build them ourselves internally.”

He continued: “It will actually cost us a little less. It will de-risk the operations from a customer perspective, and it means just running two systems for a period of time.

“Whilst it’s not ideal, it’s something we thought long and hard about. But it certainly won’t be getting in the way of building and launching a single digital platform and, in many ways, it does help us free up capacity to do that.”

Overall, the full-year results show that the group made $1.07 billion of net profit after tax, up 3.6 per cent on the prior year, which Mr Cameron said was indicative of “disciplined management of margin and sensible balance between reducing overheads and investing in the future”.

Suncorp Bank’s housing portfolio now sits at $44.8 billion (up from $44.27 billion in 2016), with 66 per cent coming from the “intermediary channel”.

Suncorp FY17 Results – Margin Still Under Pressure

Suncorp Group Limited today reported NPAT of $1,075 million (FY16: $1,038 million) for the 12 months to 30 June 2017, an increase of 3.6%. They announced a a final dividend of 40 cents per share fully franked, bringing the total dividend to 73 cents per share (FY16: 68 cents) which represents a payout ratio of 81.9% of cash earnings. The results were helped by overall lower provisions. The repricing of mortgages helped also, but despite this bank NIM fell and home lending past due rose a little. So, its still a tough gig!

Suncorp is a complex portfolio of businesses, with a significant concentration in Queensland, so you have to look at each element. Given our focus on retail banking we will dive a little deeper there.

The Insurance business delivered NPAT of $723 million, up 30%, due to strong top-line growth and lower claims costs. The General Insurance business continued to see strong progress in remediating claims cost issues in the Home and Motor portfolios. GWP increased by 3.9% following strong growth in New South Wales CTP, premium increases in Home and Motor products and the successful entry into the South Australian CTP scheme. Commercial insurance GWP reduced 2.2% as pricing increases and strong retention in the SME segment was offset by lower retention in the Corporate segment. Reserve releases of $301 million (FY16: $348 million) remain well above long-term expectations of 1.5% of Group net earned premium (NEP). Life Insurance planned margins and underlying profits remained stable.

Suncorp’s additional reinsurance aggregate cover purchased for FY17 created significant shareholder value and increased resilience to natural hazards. Given the success in FY17, a similar cover has been purchased for FY18. The new cover provides $300 million of cover once the retained portion of natural hazard events greater than $10 million exceeds a total of $475 million. The retained natural hazards allowance has increased to reflect the higher natural hazards costs experienced in recent years.
The upper limit on Suncorp’s main catastrophe program, which covers the Group’s Home, Motor and Commercial Property portfolios for major events, will remain unchanged at $6.9 billion for the 2018 financial year.

The Banking & Wealth business delivered NPAT of $400 million, impacted by investment in the Core Banking and Wealth platforms to support Suncorp’s strategy.

The Banking business achieved NPAT of $396 million with a focus on sustainable profitable growth while adapting to changing economic and regulatory dynamics.

Lending growth of 1.9% reflected improved momentum in the second half of the financial year. They have throttled back on higher LVR loans.

Home lending remains a large part of the business, with about three quarters of loans principal and interest, and with a concentration in Queensland.

The past due has risen this past year.

NIM of 1.83% reflects targeted repricing of mortgage rates, but is still down on FY16.

The cost to income ratio of 52.7% was a result of stable operating expenses and the subdued growth environment.

Impairment losses reduced to $7 million, representing 1 basis point of gross loans and advances.

The Wealth business NPAT of $4 million reflects the cost of completing the Super Simplification Program and lower investment returns. Funds under management and administration increased by 0.8%.

They continue to drive “Project Ignite” (migration of core banking to its new Oracle platform), but said they would halt the migration of deposits and transaction banking products while it waits on upgrades from the vendor.

New Zealand achieved NPAT of A$82 million, impacted by claims costs associated with the Kaikoura earthquake and the associated reinsurance reinstatement expense. New Zealand General Insurance profit reduced to A$45 million, however underlying ITR was above the Group’s target of 12%. GWP growth of 6.3% was primarily driven by the Motor and Home portfolios. New Zealand Life Insurance delivered NPAT of A$37 million with a stable underlying profit of A$39 million, offset by negative market adjustments. During the financial year, the New Zealand business disposed of its Autosure motor insurance business. The sale resulted in a release of capital of A$30 million and will be accretive to the New Zealand long-term return on equity. A goodwill write-off of A$25 million has been included as a non-cash item in the Group result.

Capital and Dividend
The Board has determined a fully franked final dividend of 40 cents per share. This brings total ordinary dividends for the 2017 financial year to 73 cents per share, up 7.4%. This represents a dividend payout ratio of 81.9% of cash earnings, slightly above the top end of the 60% to 80% dividend payout range and reflects the Board’s confidence in the outlook for the Group.

After accounting for the final dividend, the Suncorp Group’s Common Equity Tier 1 (CET1) is $377 million above its operating targets.

The General Insurance CET1 is 1.32 times the Prescribed Capital Amount and Bank CET1 is 9.23% are above the top end of their target ranges.
The Group has $235 million of franking credits available after the payment of the final dividend. It has a strong capital position.




Suncorp Lifts Fixed Investor Loan Rates

Suncorp has lifted rates on new and in flight fixed investment home loan offers effective today, impacting Home Package Plus Fixed, Standard Fixed and Annual Interest in Advance Loans (AIIA) interest rates.

They say this is to “ensure the bank remains compliant with regulatory caps on investor and interest only lending.”



Suncorp announces new partnership with rediATM network

Suncorp has today announced it has entered a new partnership with Cuscal Limited, owners of the rediATM network, to significantly increase the number of direct-charge-free ATMs for its customers.

Suncorp CEO Customer Platforms, Gary Dransfield, said from 1 August, 2017, Cuscal Limited will become the exclusive provider of Suncorp’s ATMs.

“Suncorp customers will soon have fee-free access to more ATMs, in more locations than ever before, following the announcement of this new partnership,” Mr Dransfield said.

“The agreement will see the number of fee-free ATMs available to customers more than double to 3,300, up from the current 1,600.

“This partnership meets all of our requirements as a business, and is a great result for customers who will benefit from increased ATM access and functionality enhancements across the rediATM network.”

Commenting on the news, Cuscal MD Craig Kennedy said:

“We’re very pleased to welcome Suncorp to the rediATM network. It will make the network stronger and is great news for our 90 plus financial institution members, as well as their 11 million cardholders who have charge-free access to the rediATM network,” he said.

“We’ve been providing safe, convenient, reliable ATM services for more than 30 years and with our recent investment in refreshing our entire rediATM network, we’re looking forward to doing so for many years to come.”