The e-banking system for retail customers, Internet Bank, accessible at i.bspb.ru, is the principal online channel for the customers of Bank Saint Petersburg, offering increasingly better services and solutions at more favorable prices. The number of individuals who have signed up for i.bspb.ru showed a growth of 13% in 2021: from 1,482,000 to 1,671,000. One-third of the city’s economically active population has access to i.bspb.ru, and every third customer of the Bank uses the mobile banking application: The number of active users exceeded 536,000 per month with the number of app uses exceeding 12.4 mln per month. The share of users of the mobile banking application reached 85% of the total number of Internet Bank users.
In 2021, Bank Saint Petersburg presented a new mobile bank solution for the convenient use of its financial services — and only them — to the exclusion of any diversion to non-core services of eco environments. IT is an easy and plain self-explanatory natural environment for handling finance on your mobile phone that is not bloated with superfluous features.
When launching the BSPB 2021 mobile banking app, we relied on the international best practices for the creation of digital services, and all the options were implemented bearing in mind requests from users who become directly involved in the creation of a perfect mobile banking solution. The Bank will pay heed to user needs when introducing new services and capabilities. And these will be the services our clients ask for.
Intuitive and fast navigation is the main feature of the 2021 mobile banking app. It takes the minimum number of steps to complete any transaction. The new mobile banking service does not require too much thinking to take any actions which are easy and totally the same as you usually take in other apps or when using smartphone features. Thus, the Bank has kept the functionality of the mobile banking service at its maximum, while making all the actions easy and plain.
The focus of the new mobile banking app is on daily banking, meaning that all usual transactions that a client does on a daily basis are available in the launch version: already now you can work with your current accounts, cards, deposits, etc. Payments and transfers are implemented as a separate section, where one click is enough to manage transactions that are most relevant today, such as transfers using a phone number (Instant Payment System), transfers between your own accounts, foreign currency exchange, transfers using an account number, auto payments, QR based payments, and payments for all types of services.
The BSPB 2021 mobile banking service features a new payment format using a high-precision QR scanner. A unique scanner developed by the Russian AI developer Smart Engines has been implemented in the Bank Saint Petersburg’s mobile banking app for reading QR codes. Besides, the BSPB 2021 has an online chat where clients can receive real-time support from the Bank’s staff.
The subscriptions and auto payment service allows you to subscribe for a list of vendors who issue invoices for services with an exact amount for a period. When an invoice is received, the Bank issues a notification and the client can make payment in just one click without filling out any forms. You can even avoid the need to do this in one click by enabling the auto payment feature for invoices to be paid for on the day it should be done. Auto transfer is a feature for regular transfers of a specific amount of money on a specific day that may be set up in the address of the service provider, person or entity.
The old BSPB mobile app already had many of the services. But for this new BSPB 2021, our team has upgraded every feature by working thoroughly to make the services easier, more convenient and workable.
The share of loans applied for by our clients via digital channels is increasing every month. In mid-2019, it was 43% and in 2020, the number of loans issued remotely exceeded 60%. In 2021, online loans accounted for 74% of total loans issued by Bank Saint Petersburg.
Today, you can complete all the steps to receive a loan from Bank Saint Petersburg without leaving your home: from filling out an application to crediting the loan to your account — all these are available in the online banking service or mobile banking app.
The average size of consumer loans issued online is currently RUB 450,000. Most frequently, such loans are issued for four years. The most popular loan purposes are apartment renovation, building and landscaping on country estates, or a major purchase, such as household appliances. Most of the clients applying for loans online are men, accounting for 52% of all loans issued, while women account for 48% of total loans.
Repayment of a loan applied for online from Bank Saint Petersburg can also be done remotely (without visiting the Bank’s office).
In order to move mortgage applications online, Bank Saint Petersburg has shifted to heavier reliance on SmartDeal, a digital platform in real estate. This will make mortgage transactions even faster, easier and more convenient for the Bank’s customers. SmartDeal is a platform for digital communication with the Federal Service for State Registration, Cadaster and Cartography (Rosreyestr) and one of the major e-service providers in Russia.
With SmartDeal, all paperwork with Rosreyestr can be processed online. This makes registration of sale transactions two to three times faster and the client’s digital signature is issued in just a matter of minutes. The Bank’s interactions with developers are now also easier to organize, as our partners can work with a transaction within the same interface. A significant number of developers already use SmartDeal, which has been an important factor for the Bank to choose this digital platform. By using SmartDeal, Bank Saint Petersburg has doubled the percentage of electronic transactions in one month.
In 2021, the Bank announced the launch of a unit banking model as part of its updated 2023 Strategy. The new online service format for businesses began to operate in the Krasnodar Territory, making the best offerings from Bank Saint Petersburg for small and medium-sized businesses available to entrepreneurs in the South of Russia.
The model implements new approaches to working with small businesses, such as easy connection to products and services. For instance, you can now open a current account with Bank Saint Petersburg remotely and within one day. It will take you just three steps: first, submit an application on the website, second, wait for our call back and agree on the time of your visit with our manager, and third, visit us to sign the documents for opening a settlement account. Once an account is opened and the online and mobile banking services are connected, the client can use the entire range of our products and services.
The Bank’s customers who receive services outside our regions of presence have no limitations on the selection and use of the entire range of our products and services. For example, for cash transactions, clients can use corporate cards issued by the Bank and ATMs of its partner banks; most of documents and statements can be issued electronically using the Bank’s electronic digital signature, and so on.
In 2021, the Bank fully implemented a set of measures to ensure continuous remote work in the context of the pandemic.
During 2021, the Bank’s staff members completed projects aimed at increasing the availability of the Bank’s IT services. Some of the projects relate to the infrastructure, such as equipment lifecycle management, elimination of points of failure in the corporate network, etc. Other projects relate to IT process management, such as updating the process for managing change in the IT infrastructure, launching a process for managing facilities and a pool of backup IT resources.
Also, a number of projects were implemented in 2021 to improve the efficiency of technology used to support the Bank’s business.
In 2021, the Bank launched a new IT monitoring center.
The Bank’s team has built the new monitoring system based on the principle of systematicity, where any component of the IT system is to be monitored. The team checks for failures on a weekly basis: if not all of them have been recorded by the monitoring system, agents are added to the area of failure. Thus, the system is constantly refined and expands its coverage.
The team of professionals operates in shifts on a 24/7 basis responding to alerts of the monitoring system. Their workplace is equipped with a video wall comprising all the panels that show the performance of IT systems and IT infrastructure in the Bank. The run book creation process has been put in place to provide detailed instructions on how to respond to certain situations. Special instructions are written by the administrator for each event so that on-duty operators know what to do, such as fix the failure, collect data, troubleshoot, call the administrator, etc.
From 2021 onwards, Bank Saint Petersburg will move some of its key IT processes to cloud resources. This will speed up the allocation of infrastructure for new projects and receiving specific tools for the creation of new digital products and services. The Bank will only transfer the process, functional part of the software to the cloud. All databases, customer data and financial information will remain solely within the Bank.
The transition to the cloud will reduce costs of search for and remuneration of particular narrow-field IT specialists capable of deploying relevant infrastructure and maintaining special IT tools and developments.