As Canadians increasingly embrace digital banking to simplify their lives, it is more essential than ever for financial institutions to offer robust, convenient and modern solutions. According to a study conducted by the Canadian Bankers Association, eight out of 10 Canadians are using digital channels to conduct most of their banking transactions.

For many financial institutions, developing and delivering on a digital transformation strategy requires strong partnerships. Laurentian Bank of Canada is one of 148 clients committed to Central 1’s Forge digital banking platform. We sat down with Adam Swinemar, Laurentian’s Senior Vice President, Digital, Product & Marketing, to talk about their digital transformation journey and how their partnership with Central 1 has strengthened their ability to meet their customers’ needs.

Laurentian has a deep and rich history in Canadian banking. Tell us about your modernization transformation – it must be an exciting experience for you.
Laurentian Bank has a rich history of firsts in banking: we were the first Canadian bank to appoint a woman as our Board Chair, the first to appoint a woman as CEO who is also an immigrant, and the first to link all of our branches to a central computer system and to go cashless in our branches.

We are very proud of our inclusion and innovation culture – most recently reflected in our renewed purpose to “change banking for the better by seeing beyond numbers.” Across these evolutions, it has always been a priority to have a customer first mindset and identify where can we make changes to address the needs of our customers.

Sounds like a lot of trailblazing, innovation and courage. As a leader, how does it feel to be a part of this evolution?
It was exciting to see our employees rally around the vision and understand what we’re trying to do and how they could be a part of it. You can feel the momentum.

Part of our digital strategy was to deliver value early by leveraging an agile approach and iteratively release solutions like our mobile app and online banking strategy. This would allow us to prioritize top features customers were requesting so we could deliver value early, while committing to evolving our app over time. I am proud to be part of the work that the broad team is doing and to see the impact that it is having on our customers and our employee base.

What prompted you to pursue a partnership to support your digital transformation?
Making size our advantage through partnerships like Central 1 is a key part of our renewed strategy at Laurentian Bank. We were already a Central 1 client, and had decided to prioritize the mobile banking app. We recognized that partnering with Central 1 would accelerate our ability to bring these capabilities to market, and on a known platform.

Being able to launch our app in seven months is a proof point that really validates our partnership and that our strategy is working. It was an easy decision to partner with Central 1. There was a lot of customer appreciation for how quickly we got the app to market and we continue to work in partnership with Central 1 on additional features within our mobile app and desktop experiences.

You touched on leveraging partnerships to deliver value more quickly for customers. How did Central 1’s partnership support your journey?
When we revised our digital strategy, the Central 1 team was very engaged from the beginning, with both teams aligning around agile delivery, which was new for Laurentian Bank.

Both teams came to the table as one winning team, working closely together, aligned in the priority of delivering the first phase of mobile banking. This was supported at all levels of both our organizations to ensure we hit critical dates, commitments and were able to deliver key features our customers and employees were asking for. This partnership has continued post-launch in the subsequent digital experience enhancements that we’re looking to deliver this year.

Learn more about Forge and how it can take your digital banking experience to the next level.

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