The Co-operative Bank

Working with Salesforce, we can provide thousands of SME customers with a differentiated banking experience that helps them reach their business goals.”

Carl Woolfenden, Head of Change Delivery (SME Transformation Strategic Enabling Projects), The Co-operative Bank

Nick, Northwest Towbar Centre, Co-operative Bank business customer

2,500 employees
Salesforce customer since 2020


of new bank accounts will be opened on the same day for SME customers


The Co-operative Bank will make banking easier for more small and medium-sized enterprises working with Salesforce 

Being able to open a bank account quickly is really empowering for passionate people who dream of starting on a new business journey. Thanks to The Co-operative Bank, from November eager businesses can open an account on the same day and start investing in their new venture.

“We want to provide sole traders and SMEs with the responsive financial services they need to grow,” said Carl Woolfenden, Head of Change Delivery (SME Transformation Strategic Enabling Projects) at The Co-operative Bank. “With Salesforce, we can provide thousands of SMEs with a differentiated banking experience that helps their business thrive.” 

A bank for people with purpose.

The Co-operative Bank is already a popular choice with the UK’s purpose-led SME community. In 2019, it saw a 100% increase in the number of new current accounts opened, with customer deposits topping £2 billion. It currently looks after the banking needs of around 86,000 SMEs, 750 co-operatives, 5,000 charities, and 200 credit unions - all of which have been reviewed through the Bank’s ethical screening process. 

The Co-operative Bank was the first UK high street bank to introduce a customer-led ethical policy. “We believe that doing good and doing good business go together,” explained Carl Woolfenden. “We don’t provide banking services to any organisations that conflict with our customers’ views on a number of key issues, including the support of human rights and animal welfare, and a commitment to tackling climate change. All new business customers are reviewed in line with our customer-led ethical policy.”

Founded in 1872, the Bank has stayed true to its co-operative roots, supporting not only its customers but also colleagues and communities. “Empathy and community are key to our co-operative values; we treat our customers as individuals not bank accounts,” explained Carl Woolfenden. “Our relationship management teams are constantly talking to SMEs about how we can help through the good and bad times.” In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bank waived lending arrangement fees, introduced capital repayment deferrals, and signed up to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan and Bounce Back Loan Schemes to help support its SME customers through a challenging economic time. 

The Co-operative Bank puts customers at the heart of its digital roadmap.

To ensure it can continue to provide a great service and a great experience, The Co-operative Bank has embarked on a ‘customer first’ digital transformation programme. Salesforce will play a critical role in this £32 million transformation, which has been jointly funded by the Bank and the sector’s Capability and Innovation Fund, and will enable the Bank to simplify its processes, empower its teams, and deepen its relationships with customers. 

“Digital channels are more important than ever before,” said Carl Woolfenden. “With Salesforce and its ecosystem, we can make banking easier for our SME customers, so they can devote more time to running their businesses, especially during challenging times.” 

By the end of 2020, 85% of new accounts for sole traders and individual director (SME) customers will be opened on the same day. But this is just the beginning - The Co-operative Bank also plans to create personalised journeys, make predictive product recommendations, and introduce more engagement channels. 

These and other new digital capabilities will be underpinned by a combination of Financial Services Cloud, Community Cloud, MuleSoft, Marketing Cloud, and Einstein. “We’re delivering a big change agenda in a short space of time. Working with Salesforce

will help us completely transform how SME customers interact with the Bank,” commented Carl Woolfenden.

Smarter and simpler integrations accelerate time to market.

To achieve its digitalisation goals, The Co-operative Bank needs to be able to integrate multiple back-end systems - old and new - with Salesforce. Opening a bank account for a new SME customer involves a number of different systems and services - from checking addresses and credit ratings to signing contracts. 

“With MuleSoft, we can build flexible and reusable APIs to modernise our legacy systems and support our digital transformation,” commented Carl Woolfenden. “It reduces complexity and increases our speed to market for new customer features. MuleSoft will be fundamental to enabling real-time integration, and future-proofing the Bank's overall IT architecture.”

As well as accelerating onboarding, API-led integrations will simplify the identity checks carried out by the contact centre team, enriching both the colleague and customer experience.

Building stronger customers relationships with richer insights.

By integrating its systems, processes, and customer records, the Bank will be able to achieve a 360-degree view of its relationships with thousands of SMEs. This will unlock new insights, which will be accessible in real time via Financial Services Cloud. 

“We want to have insight-led conversations with our customers to help them make more informed decisions,” said Carl Woolfenden. “With Financial Services Cloud, our relationship management, contact centre, online banking and operations teams have a 360-degree view of the customer, including their assets, liabilities, and products.”

The Co-operative Bank also plans to use AI to empower its relationship management team with predictive recommendations. “With Einstein, our relationship managers can recommend the right products to the right customers at the right time,” explained Carl Woolfenden.

Digitalisation boosts bank’s SME growth ambitions.

As The Co-operative Bank’s three-year digital transformation gains momentum, Salesforce will help to drive deeper relationships and stronger growth. “Salesforce will be embedded in the SME journey and be used by hundreds of colleagues in different departments. It will help us get closer to our customers and provide the support they need, especially at challenging times,” commented Carl Woolfenden.

The digital transformation will not only enable The Co-operative Bank to provide a richer experience but also boost its prospect pipeline and customer conversion rates. “We want to double our market share in the SME space by 2025,” said Carl Woolfenden. “By combining great digital capabilities with our ethical and social values, we’ll be able to attract more customers. And the more successful we are, the more we can give back to our communities.”


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