Luminor Bank head of products on creating a new bank from old components - World -
Luminor_Kristina Siimar_2

Luminor Bank’s head of products and offering, Kristina Siimar, talks about forging the new institution out of the old operations of DNB and Nordea, and bringing its customers onto a single banking platform and common digital channels. 

This article is part of The Banker’s Special Report, Digital transformation across European banking groups, in association with Backbase.

Q: What is Luminor’s digital transformation strategy and how far along in the journey are you?

A: Luminor is committed to supporting the further development of the Baltic region through financing and other banking services, by making banking simpler and more accessible, as well as by engaging in the overall development of the Baltic societies.

The bank was born as a result of merging the Baltic operations of Scandinavian banks DNB and Nordea. Digitally, it entailed bringing the customers of the former six banks in three countries – Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania – onto a single banking platform and common digital channels, and carving out operations from the systems of parent banks. The scale and complexity of this undertaking is probably the most unique digital transformation journey in north-eastern Europe.

As of today, we have established the Luminor payment hub, an independent correspondent banking system, and migrated our customers to a new platform in Latvia and Lithuania, while also looking to completing the Estonian migration this year.

Currently, Luminor is entering the next phase of its digital transformation strategy, where new harmonised and uniform digital channels will be introduced across the Baltic markets for both online and mobile banking. This, coupled with the efforts being allocated to process automation, will take us further in providing our customers with effortless and intuitive experience when banking with us, focusing on customer-centric service design and accessibility.

Q: How is the strategy being rolled out across your regional footprint?

A: Migration from DNB and Nordea systems has been a complex multi-phase project, spanning the past couple of years and across all three main markets for Luminor. Going forward, the bank aims to introduce new channels sequentially across all markets with smaller minimum viable product release increments, which enables faster new value creation for our customers.

Q: Are you trying to create a seamless and uniform digital experience across your regional footprint?

A: Luminor is a pan-Baltic bank for the local way of life and doing business. Our operational model is pan-Baltic as well, combining global knowledge with local expertise to best serve our customers.

We are aiming for a uniform digital experience in all countries and we are making good progress with a greater part of our transformation completed. It is also based on common principles in our products and offering. The introduction of a uniform digital experience increases customer satisfaction through standardised and easy-to-use interfaces.

Q: Are there political/regulatory/cultural/technical challenges?

A: The Baltic region is digitally very advanced and customers are looking to new technological solutions and digital offerings. More than 90% of our active customers use digital services and it has been greatly influenced by the Covid-19 pandemic as well, which gave a great boost to remote services.

From a banking perspective, the biggest differences in the Baltic countries are mainly related to language and digital customer authentication. In contrast to generic issues, the hurdles that banks face are more dependent on specific customer groups. For example, elderly people need more attention in terms of introducing them to digital services.

Q: How are you addressing these challenges and do they influence your digital strategy?

A: First of all, we are addressing these challenges by making the digital journey simple and intuitive for our customers, as well as by focusing on extra attention and advice in helping our customers use digital services. As one of our 84-year-old customers said, when learning to use new digital authentication methods: “Please don’t hesitate to release me from the past.”

We are continuously investing more in piloting new products. For example, we have just launched digital remote onboarding for our customers. We have formed a separate service design team to interview and engage with our customers to ensure product-market fit for all new products. In addition, by addressing our own challenges with digitalisation, we have helped local companies transfer their business online as part of our corporate social responsibility initiative.

Q: What would be the ideal solution?

A: The ideal solution is simple, stable and accessible internet and mobile banking services across the Baltics, through which Luminor customers can fulfil even their most complex banking needs any time in any location. Customers want to be able to access our advisors remotely at their preferred time.

We are now raising customer awareness and digital financial literacy across all our customer segments, as well as introducing social initiatives to support local businesses in going digital.

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