Laurentian Bank Financial Group is focused on reducing complexity as it works to modernize and attract new business, chief executive Rania Llewellyn said Wednesday.
“If there’s one theme that is a guiding principle for everything we’ll be doing at Laurentian Bank, it’s simplification,” Llewellyn told a conference call with investors following the release of the bank’s latest financial results.
“We need to simplify our platforms. Our technology platforms are complex.”
Retail customers currently see different layouts depending on where their account is hosted, Llewellyn said as an example. The bank’s mortgage application and digital sign-up for new customers are also overly complex, she added.
As part of the updated mortgage operations, the bank has created a dedicated unit in personal banking for residential lending, started to integrate digital signatures through DocuSign, and automated valuations for properties. However, given the complexity of the business, a full transformation will take time, Llewellyn said.
“It’s going to take 18 to 24 months for us to really start seeing the impact of our efforts.”
The bank is also working on filling in some key gaps in its technology offerings, including adding a banking app and a tap function on debit cards.
“It may be a surprise to everyone on the call, but we don’t have a mobile app, and we’re hard at work in terms of delivering that to the market,” she said.
The efforts come as the bank saw a six per cent dip in deposits in the third quarter compared with a year ago, while loans and acceptances crept up by less than half a per cent in the year.
Profit, however, was up significantly in the quarter, thanks in part to lower provisions for credit losses.
The bank reported earnings of $62.1 million, or $1.32 per diluted share for the quarter ending July 31, compared with $36.2 million or 77 cents per diluted share a year earlier.
Revenue totalled $254.9 million for the quarter, up from $248.6 million for the third quarter of 2020.
Laurentian’s provision for credit losses for the quarter was $5.4 million compared with $22.3 million a year ago.
On an adjusted basis, the bank says it earned $1.25 per diluted share, up from an adjusted profit of $1.02 per diluted share in the same quarter last year.
Analysts on average had expected the bank to earn a $1.08 per share for the quarter, according to financial market data firm Refinitiv.