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Better Banking

In 2018, Landsbankinn introduced several innovative digital services, intended to make life simpler for customers and banking easier. A new Landsbankinn app, the first card app to allow customers to pay with their phones, a digital credit assessment and loan application process were among new offerings in 2018.

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Seldom if ever have there been such significant changes to Landsbankinn’s services to retail customers as in 2018. Around 20 innovative digital service solutions were introduced, allowing retail customers to resolve much more of traditional banking business online. Various transactions that formerly necessitated a physical bank visit can now be taken care of at the customer’s leisure.

Major advances in digital solutions

Landsbankinn places considerable emphasis on digital services and wants its customers, both retail and corporate, to be able to tend to their banking business easily, anytime and anywhere. Digital services should be time and effort-saving for customers and their needs resolved promptly. Customers should receive personal service tailored to meet their needs.

Towards year-end 2017, the Bank, in collaboration with the Icelandic Banks' Data Centre (RB), deployed a new deposit and payment system from Sopra. This was one the most complex and complicated IT undertakings ever attempted in Iceland. As a result, the Bank could focus on development and advances in digital services, in line with its new strategy.

The results have not been long in coming. Around 20 new solutions were launched in 2018 and the trend will continue in 2019.

Customers should have easy access to information, a good overview of their finances and becoming a Landsbankinn customer via electronic means should be a smooth process.

New Landsbankinn app

A new Landsbankinn app was launched on Google Play Store and App Store in February and reception has been extremely good. Since the launch and until year-end 2018, the app has been upgraded several times and new features added. The app presents customers with a clear and concise overview of their finances as soon as they log on. It is also easy to access more details about each item.

The app includes all of the most-used features of online banking with some features added to the app before they appear in online banking.

Visits to online banking, Landsbankinn’s app and 2018

Online credit assessment

Customers who use electronic ID could complete an online credit assessment with Landsbankinn as of February 2018. This allows customers to comprehend their payment capacity and borrowing ability quickly and at the time of their choosing. The same process allows customers to submit an electronic housing loan application with a convenient credit composition. This allows customers to choose whether to apply for housing loans online or at one of the Bank’s branches.

There was a considerable increase in new housing loans issued by Landsbankinn in 2018 and these solutions allowed the Bank to meet demand more quickly and effectively than before.

Emphasis on electronic signatures

Landsbankinn has in recent years emphasised proliferating the number of services that allow for electronic signatures, tripling that number in 2018. Customers now have the option of signing vehicle loans, authorisation for financial information, supplementary pension savings agreements, credit assessment data, credit card applications, business relationship agreements, authorisation to obtain personalised data for a 360° financial review, and other services electronically.

Self-service credit assessment 2018

Option to suspend credit cards in the app

A feature that allows customers to suspend credit cards was introduced in the Landsbankinn app in May. Customers can themselves suspend all credit card functionality, with the exception of payment by instalments and regular payments. The card holder can then re-activate the card through the app when it suits.

International payments in online banking

In June, customers were offered the option to order international payments through online banking. About six months later, in December 2018, around 86% of all international payments were made through online banking. This feature was launched in the Landsbankinn app in January 2019. Previously, customers would have to call the Customer Service Centre or visit a branch to make international payments.

Citibank awards Landsbankinn for success

In December, Citibank recognised Landsbankinn International Payments for the quality of the STP rates of international payments from Landsbankinn. Landsbankinn has received this award before yet achieved an even higher STP rate this year than previously. Straight-through processing (STP) refers to the degree and quality of payment system automatization.

The STP rate of sent transactions from International Payments over a 6-month period in 2018 was 99.33%. This means that 99.33% of all transactions could be read automatically, which is considered a great success.

In 2018, there was a 14% increase in international payments from Landsbankinn.

Self-service international payments 2018

Establish business relationship through the Landsbankinn app

Prospective customers could establish a business relationship with Landsbankinn through its app as of July. Individuals with electronic ID can now download the Landsbankinn app to their mobiles and become customers in a matter of minutes.

Customers who establish a business relationship with Landsbankinn through digital channels gain access to online banking and a current account. The same process offers the option to link a debit card to the current account, create a savings account and/or establish securities services. This solution was initially only available in the app but became available on Landsbankinn’s website later in 2018.

Landsbankinn's card app

Landsbankinn’s card app was introduced in October 2018 and was the first app in Iceland that allowed customers to use their mobiles to pay for goods and services in contactless card readers throughout the world, with no withdrawal limit. The app is developed by Visa and has already been in use in the US and other countries for some time. Landsbankinn was the first Icelandic bank to offer this service and among the first European banks to do so. The card app is available to anyone via Google Play Store.

The app is a payment solution that stores a customer’s debit and credit cards in Androids. To make payment with the card app in a mobile, users authenticate themselves with a fingerprint, password or eye verification, which replaces a PIN.

Suspend debit card in Landsbankinn’s app

Since November 2018, customers have been able to easily suspend their debit cards in the Landsbankinn app. Suspension means that all card functionality is deactivated. The card holder can then re-activate the card through the app when it suits.

Change credit card limit in Landsbankinn’s app

In December, a feature was introduced that allows customers to manually alter the limit on their credit cards in the Landsbankinn app and online banking based on an established credit framework. Customers have been able to adjust their overdraft authorisation through online banking and the app since 2017.

Creating FX accounts in online banking

Customers have been able to create foreign currency denominated savings accounts in online banking for individuals since December 2018. This feature quickly became very popular and in December, 50% of FX accounts were created by customers using self-service solutions.

Applications for housing loans and refinancing

In December, the Bank began offering online applications for housing loans and refinancing on its website. Reception was extremely positive and lightened the load on branch services. There was a considerable increase in new housing loans in 2018, and this solution, alongside the digital credit assessment introduced earlier the same year, allowed the Bank to meet this demand far quicker and better than before.

Landsbankinn web messenger opens

A web messenger was added to Landsbankinn’s website in December. Customers can use it to pose queries and interact with service representatives. The messenger provides quick access to banking services. This solution is an addition to the option of sending queries through Facebook Messenger.

Establish business relationship online

As of December 2018, prospective customers have been able to enter into a business relationship through Landsbankinn’s website. This feature had been available in the app since June 2018. Individuals who hold electronic ID can become Landsbankinn customers via simple, digitalised means. New customers receive immediate access to Landsbankinn online banking and a current account and are then presented with the option of linking a debit card to the account, creating a savings account and/or securities services, all part of the same process.

It is very important to Landsbankinn to offer corporate customers throughout Iceland the best financial services available. Companies, just like private individuals, desire good access to digital banking services and the Bank emphasises providing robust and reliable online banking.

Monthly statements for companies

Corporate customers were in January of 2018 offered the option of subscribing to monthly statements of key figures through online banking. The statements are in spreadsheet form and suited to the needs of CFOs, treasurers, internal and external auditors and accountants.

Improved operating summaries for residents' association

Operating summaries for residents' associations were improved greatly in January, bringing them to the same standard as both annual and monthly statements, i.e. as comprehensive and sophisticated PDF documents for download in online banking instead of a hybrid simple website and electronic document. There are several reasons why PDFs are a more user-friendly medium than electronic documents, among which are that they are easy to save and share. The new summaries are also more comprehensive and residents’ associations were offered a monthly subscription.

Improved payment approval process for corporate online banking

The payment approval process in online banking is an optional service that the Bank provides free of charge. This function ensures that a payment is not carried out until it has been approved by one or more duly authorised online banking users. In 2018, the traceability of such authorisations was made more visible with the payor (the company) seeing more detailed information about which user authorised each payment and when, and the authorisation level of the user at the time authorisation was granted.

Improved presentation of corporate loan portfolio summaries

In December 2017, Landsbankinn launched a much more comprehensive and accessible corporate loan portfolio summary. Loan facilities are presented individually for the first time, the summaries include all important information about draw-downs, amounts for disposal under the loan facility, information about loan tranches provided for in the contract, etc.

Two new sub-chapters were added to the loan summary in February 2018, showing overdraft credit and the balance of credit cards, both of which constitute short-term liabilities and were previously only presented on dedicated websites. The final touches were added in April, with the addition of past, current and future loan portfolio cash flows.

Better control of access rights in corporate online banking

Never before have as many new access rights been added as in 2018. The proliferation of access rights improves the adaptability of online banking to the disparate job descriptions of users from various companies. The objective is not least to meet the changing needs of companies, improve third-party access (guest access for auditors, consultants, collection agencies, etc.) and to place even more emphasis on security.

Better access control in corporate online banking

Changes to access control in online banking for corporates were finalised in 2018. Companies were granted much wider authorisation to control their own online banking platforms. Companies could as a result control various aspects of their online banking, such as increasing and decreasing users’ withdrawal limits, defining various user rights, creating new users and much more.

Send PDFs through B2B

An important step forward was taken in Landsbankinn’s B2B services (business to business) in September, when senders of electronic documents were offered the option of sending PDF documents to online banking. The change brings many advantages to both senders and software service providers.

Changes to the branch network

Use of Landsbankinn’s digital services has exploded and customers are quick to take new solutions into use. As the use of self-service solutions becomes more common, the role of bank branches has changed and customer visits declined. Increased emphasis is now placed on providing various financial advisory services in branches, including assistance in the use of new technology. In May 2018, the opening hours of 11 branches and outlets changed, and organisational changes were made to Landsbankinn’s Hagatorg branch in Reykjavík.

Joint cash centre for all three banks

In 2018, Landsbankinn transferred its chief cashier function to a joint cash centre run by the three banks, i.e. Landsbankinn, Arion Bank and Íslandsbanki. The objective is to achieve operational efficiencies in the Icelandic banking system. The Icelandic Competition Authority had previously granted the three banks dispensation for the establishment and operation of a joint cash centre.

Significant changes to payment services in the works

Work is under way on a bill that will transpose the EU’s new Payment Services Directive (PSD2) into Icelandic law. Transposition will lead to considerable changes in Icelandic payment services. Banks will be required to grant third parties, who fulfil certain conditions, authorisation to execute payment instructions and grant access to dissemination of payment information for accounts for debit specified by the customers who choose to avail themselves of the services of such third parties. It is as of yet unclear when the Directive will enter into effect in Iceland.

Landsbankinn’s API

The changes PSD2 brings are sometimes referred to as open banking which involves making certain banking services accessible via APIs. Third parties such as fintech companies can log on to such APIs and develop own products and services or collaborate on products and services with the bank, for the benefit of customers. PSD2 requires certain services to be made available through APIs. APIs open up several possibilities for the development of banking services for Landsbankinn’s customers. Landsbankinn is currently working on the establishment of its own API.

Important interplay between banks and fintechs

In the long term, consumers are set to reap significant benefits from these changes if they remain open to the change, and the interplay between banks and fintechs will play an important part. Landsbankinn aims to be a leader in open banking, ensuring that its customers benefit from the new landscape and receive the best banking services available. In 2018, Landsbankinn was a founding member of the Fintech Cluster, the aim of which is to promote innovation in finance and work to improve and facilitate business transactions of all kinds.

Landsbankinn's branch network

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Landsbankinn operates the largest branch network in Iceland, comprised of 37 branches and service points throughout the country.

Attempts at fraud on the Internet increased in 2018, focused mostly on CEO fraud that targets companies. Fraud attempts on social media also increased and the public seems to be easily persuaded to reveal their credit card numbers on Facebook. Lifestyle apps have also become popular hacker targets.

Collaboration leads to increased security in banking

Landsbankinn places strong emphasis on security and participates in various international collaborations on improving Internet security whereby banks share valuable knowledge and experience of the fight against cybercrime, among other things. Cybercrime grows ever more advanced, as does the need for financial undertakings to collaborate in the fight against them. On a day to day basis, agility is the greatest defence, the ability to respond promptly to attempts at fraud and other risks. In 2017, Landsbankinn became a member of Nordic Financial CERT, a collaborative platform by Nordic financial undertakings, the first Icelandic bank to join. The objective of Nordic Financial CERT is to promote Internet security and combat cybercrime. This platform is robust and agile and has already proven its worth.

Educating customers a priority

In 2018, the Bank’s experts actively participated in public debate in the media and conferences, and published articles and videos on Internet security on Umræðan, the Bank’s content and news site. Landsbankinn strongly advises companies, institutions and municipalities to carry out regular security tests, drills and boost on-going education for employees.

  • Articles on Internet security have been published on Umræðan

Umræðan: Internet security**In Icelandic