ubank hints at slew of new app features to debut in early 2024

Ubank app

NAB’s digital-only, youth-oriented bank, ubank, has revealed it will roll out a slew of new money management features and functionalities on its mobile app in the new year.

Anticipated for launch in the first half of 2024, ubank said the new features will improve how customers manage their bills, including the ability to see their money in the context of their pay cycle.

“Customers will also be able to know that they’ve set money aside for committed bills and expenses each pay… and know what they can spend to make informed decisions and trade-offs,” the bank said in a statement.

ubank chief executive Philippa Watson said the features were developed in recognition of the changing payment habits of its customers, including the increased use of buy now, pay later (BNPL) and subscription services, split payments and microtransactions, and the ready utilisation of digital wallets and wearables, which have collectively made it harder for them to keep track of outgoing expenses.

“This can lead to incremental and sometimes unintended spending, and often we don’t realise the impact this has on achieving that bigger goal such as saving for a car, holiday or a first home,” she said.

“Once you know how much you’ve committed to your bills and expenses, you know what you can safely spend and also what’s left over for that bigger savings goal. We want to help our customers make thoughtful spending decisions more often.”

The digital-only bank has also flagged plans to “overhaul” its mortgage application lodgement process in the coming year.

“We will introduce further automation that will deliver straight-through processing, making it even faster and simpler for brokers or direct lending customers to lodge an application with us,” ubank’s chief lending officer, Kanishka Raja, said.

Ubank boasts that its ‘Time to Yes’ for home loan applications has, within just the last six months, dropped from over 10 days to less than four days.

“Today, a customer’s new home loan application is picked up and… supporting documents actioned all within a few hours, regardless of which channel the application originated from,” Raja said.

“In the past year, we’ve helped over 10,000 customers get a home loan faster than the average industry turnaround times and go about their home-buying journey with confidence.”

The bank has also leveraged artificial intelligence and machine learning tools to prompt home loan health checks, contacting more than 4,000 existing customers to offer support “in the rising interest rate environment”.

Ubank grew its mortgage book by 24 per cent in the year to September 2023, reaching $12.7 billion, while total deposits jumped 29 per cent to $18.6 billion.

The personal banking loan book of its parent, NAB, remained relatively flat by comparison, growing by just 0.04 per cent over the same period.

Ubank also saw a 40 per cent jump in its accredited broker book in the 2023 financial year, reaching upwards of 12,000 brokers.

“We’re incredibly proud and even more driven to innovate for our customers through investment in technology. In home lending, we want to be known for the easiest application process, ultra-fast turnarounds, and personalised data-driven insights,” Raja said.

The bank also completed a full migration of its customers to its new banking service platform in July this year, underpinned by technology from neobank 86400 – acquired by NAB in May 2021 and fully integrated into the bank division in early 2022.

Ubank boasts that upwards of 175,000 new customers joined the platform over the FY2023 period.

Targeted at Millennial and Gen Z consumers, more than half of ubank’s new customers are under the age of 35.