Fast 5

Digital Banking | Tom Rutherford

Fast 5  Tom Rutherford (1)


Fast 5 with Tom Rutherford, Service Delivery Manager, UK, Sandstone Technology

This week in our Fast 5 series we’re discussing the technologies available to banks and building societies across the UK. Tom Rutherford, Service Delivery Manager at Sandstone, explores the opportunities with embedded finance and the biggest challenges in the digital banking industry.


Q1. What do you see as the biggest challenges in the Digital Banking industry today and how are these been addressed?

Safeguarding against fraud always seems to be towards the top list of the list. There’s an expectation from consumers that their banks should be offering better protection against the threat of fraud. Recent FCA regulation around Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) has improved the security around authentication and accessing Digital Banking. The Payment System Regulator is pushing the rollout of Confirmation of Payee (CoP) which should start to make a dent in the level of Authorised Push Payment (APP) scams and UK Finance is backing the ‘Take Five – to stop fraud’ campaign which has also been picked up and moved forward by a number of banks already.


Q2. What are some of the benefits for Digital Banking customers with the technology available today?

Personal financial management (PFM) tools bring benefits to customers in providing insight to spending patterns to help customers better understand their own spending. Open banking facilitated the rollout of standalone PFM apps to provide customers a way to aggregate their accounts together but challenges around the ’90 day’ re-authentication hold back adoption. More recently I’ve seen banks have begun bundling these PFM services within their own digital banking platforms, so it seems Open banking is still looking for that killer use case to really entice a wider uptake. That use case may involve the speed of payment processing for a customer via open banking; the ability for customers to ‘pay by bank’ via open banking is on the rise and there are early signs of services offering refunds or ‘pay-out by bank’ via open banking. The concept of instant refunds is only just rolling out but the thought of reducing refunds from the usual 3-5 days to a matter of seconds certainly seems enticing, especially for big ticket items.


Q3. What do you think banks and building societies could do better to improve customer experience?

Exemplary customer service is vital for banks and building societies to retain competitive advantage. Customer expectations are increasing as they expect a digital experience as a minimum from any brand they interact with. Banks and building societies providing a mobile app has never been higher and is a key ingredient within Digital Banking towards offering the best user experience. If increasing market share is a goal; the provision of a more integrated and frictionless customer service offering is a great place to start. Customers have a 24/7 attitude towards customer service and offering a live chat service brings with it that instant feedback to allow customer to access information more conveniently and smoothly than other channels.


Q4. What do you see as a game changer for the future of retail and business banking providers?

Over the past 10 years, we’ve seen the rise of the disruptive challenger banks with successful new-commers like Revolut and Monzo seeing rapid customer base growth. Over the next 10 years there’s early signs of a new challenge forming around ‘Embedded Finance’. This term describes the way big companies are beginning to offer financial services by integrating with new startups and cutting out the traditional financial middleman. $4.25 billion has already poured into embedded finance startups in the year to date. With this level of investment and quickening pace of changing technologies, the banks may have their work cut out for them in just keeping up.


Q5. You have worked for Sandstone in Australia and the UK. What are the key differences in the financial markets that you experienced?

Both the UK and Australia have set of dominant banks however ‘The Big Four’ bank in Australia (ANZ, CBS, NAB and Westpac) have a larger share of the market than and the ‘big 5’ in the UK (HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds, NatWest and Santander). The Australian big four fared better than the UK big five following the financial crisis 2007-2008. This has led to an increase in consumer choice in the UK with new banks and FinTech entering the market and secondary tier banks and building societies having a larger slice of the market compared to their counter parts in Australia. The regulatory environment in the UK has also encouraged innovation and disruption which can be evidenced by the faster rollout of Open banking in the UK vs Australia.

I loved my time living and working in Australia, awesome beaches, great food and outdoor lifestyle but you can’t beat the football in the UK!



Cropped Tom-1Over the past 10+ years, Tom has worked on Lending and Savings transformation programs across the UK and Australia. Tom’s current role in Sandstone centres on customer delivery of Sandstone products where he leads an implementation team focusing on delivery of Online Banking servicing and onboarding solutions for our UK customer base.


Fast 5 with Tom Rutherford

Posted by Sandstone Technology on Oct 6, 2021 8:46:01 PM