Tech support

Investors press BoQ on dated apps


Spending would also be 1% lower than last year, an improvement over previous forecasts that said costs would be “largely stable”. BoQ said this was not due to accounting changes, but rather productivity gains.

The downside was that margins would be “slightly” lower than expected due to more difficult business conditions, including “intense price competition,” the BoQ said.

Resolutions for the AGM, which was held online amid coronavirus fears, went ahead with minimal protest votes, such as just 5.5% against the company’s wages.

It comes after the bank – which has new faces on its board and management, including chief executive George Frazis, who started in September 2019 – recorded a rebound in profits last year. to $ 412 million and its main home loan portfolio increased 9% to $ 34.1 billion. .

But as the Financial analysis reported in October, a persistent problem that has worsened over the past year was customer perceptions of its technology.

On Tuesday, shareholders complained about an Android app that had not been updated since 2018, showing a “glaring lack of customer care.” Another complained that Osko’s Quick Payouts had been around for years but not available on BoQ’s platform.

Kelly Buchanan of the Australian Shareholders’ Association added: “For years and years BoQ has promised to master its outdated technological system.”

“How can your bereaved shareholders be sure that with the acquisition of ME Bank, it’s different this time? “

Mr Allaway said that although there has been underinvestment in the past, a new strategy was launched last year that included a “big commitment” to digital transformation at BoQ.

BoQ was 20 months away from the project, which affects the entire company and included a new digital app for its Virgin Money brand. But BoQ acknowledged that there was “more to do,” he said.

Mr. Frazis acknowledged that technical improvements were a big issue for the bank and that it was spending hundreds of millions of dollars. The new technology in the Virgin Money app was slated for use on its main BoQ brand in the first quarter of next year, with digital mortgages available later as well, he said.

All the BoQ brands would have a unique “state-of-the-art” system. “What this means for our customers is that they will have the primary mobile banking application,” he said.

Investors also asked the board about the fundraiser, with a $ 1 billion retail right offering launched on March 1 and closed on March 10, offering them to buy one new share for every 3 , 34 which they already had. It was not waiverable, meaning no compensation for people who did not accept their offer.

But those using the post had to receive the documents and return them within a period that included a weekend and a public holiday in Victoria, which was made worse by delays from Australia Post.

“Does the board accept responsibility for the many individual shareholders who did not participate in the recent share purchase plan due to the pathetic delay set by the board?” Asked shareholder Michael Walsh.

Mr Allaway blamed some of the blame on Australia Post and said an extension had been offered, but maintained BoQ ultimately faced time constraints.

BoQ was bidding against rivals for ME Bank and “there was a big question mark over our ability to raise funds,” he said.

He said the BoQ had taken advice on the structure – the offer was underwritten by Goldman Sachs and UBS – and on the timing.

“Time was running out. For subscribers, the longer the period, the greater the market risk associated with subscribing to this offer, ”he said.