The Digital Mutual at the BSA Annual Conference

Rob Thickett, Policy Manager, Building Societies Association

Digital innovation is the ubiquitous buzzword of the moment and with good reason.

Technologies that are a central part of our day-to-day lives from APIs and cloud services to digital IDs and instant messaging are fast making their way into financial services. Unsurprising then, digital innovation will be a key part of the BSA’s Annual Conference on 23rd and 24th of May at the QEII Centre in Westminster, London.

Sessions on the first day of the conference will include speeches on cyber resilience and a presentation from the Economic Secretary to the Treasury MP Jon Glen on innovation in Building Societies. There will also be a presentation from technology provider nCino and Yorkshire Building Society on digital leadership and the opportunities and challenges presented by cloud-based solutions.

However, for the second day - and first time in the BSA’s conference history - there will be a conference within a conference, with a dedicated digital stream running throughout the day.

Using the Digital Mutual brand the BSA used for its events last year, there will be six sessions covering everything from the automation of the mortgage industry, how building societies can use Open Banking and a presentation from one of the main challenger banks on how building societies could collaborate with it.

Below is a brief summary of each session. For more details take a look at the full conference programme -

Digital with a human touch

Kicking off proceedings will be three presentations from BSA members about how servicing the needs of customers and staff has been central to their respective digital transformation programmes.

Themes will include:

  • Personalisation
  • Marrying the online and branch experience for consumers
  • And how firms can build on the underlying technology to develop their brand personality

Building societies Nationwide and Skipton are joined by London Mutual Credit Union, which in addition to offering savings and mortgages to its customers in South East London, also runs its own current account.

The Next Big Thing

Given the pace of change and innovation in the market, this will be an opportunity to see and hear about some of the new products and systems set to hit the market.

This 40-minute session features ten pitches showcasing new ideas and innovations to the market from the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in mortgage advice, robotic process automation, customer on boarding and paperless documentation, messaging apps, digital IDs and some of the new black box technologies coming to the mortgage market.

Our speaker line-up includes: DPR Group, Uinsure, Festina Finance, ieDigital, Thoughtonomy, Opus Trust Communications, Unisys, Hyland, Sopra Banking Software and Nivo.

All of the presenters will only have four minutes before the bell tolls and they are led off the stage (back into the conference rather than to their doom)!

Leveraging Open Banking

Open Banking celebrated its first anniversary at the beginning of 2019 and promises to give consumers greater control over their own data and better access to products that suit their circumstances. Nevertheless, how can building societies benefit?

For the third session of the day, Samantha Seaton, the CEO of Open Banking budgeting app Moneyhub, will be giving an insight into how building societies can tap into and exploit Open Banking and how it could further transform savings and wider financial services.

Capitalising on digital disruption

Our keynote panel session will feature presentations from three of the biggest global providers of core banking software, Unisys, Fiserv and Temenos, on the major trends in financial services - data, APIs and maintaining trust with customers.

Introduced by Deloitte, it will focus on how building societies and mutuals can take advantage of the global trend in digital and better service the needs of their members.

Monzo and building societies

Warming up the audience after lunch will be Jonas Templestein, the co-founder of challenger bank Monzo.

Founded in 2015, Monzo originally offered pre-paid debit cards before launching into current accounts, with its iconic coral cards a symbol of digital disruption and innovation in the UK.

Jonas will be talking about how building societies could potentially partner with Monzo and how the wider financial services sector will develop over the next couple of years.

Transforming mortgage lending

The final session of the day will be a Q&A session on the role of automation in mortgage lending and how technology is instigating a revolution in the sector. Questions will include how mortgage distribution will be impacted by the digital revolution, the ability of lenders to engage with the new crop of fintechs and whether consumers are already happy to do a mortgage over Whatsapp and Alexa.

The lineup includes digital brokerage Mojo Mortgages, Hinckley & Rugby Building Society, fintech FirstHomeCoach, Sopra Banking Software, Eligible and sourcing provider Twenty 7 Tec.

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