CIBC makes digital push

CIBC makes digital push

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce is stepping up its migration to digital services as it seeks to cut $600 million in costs by 2018 and see off a raft of new fintech competitors.

At an investor day, CIBC revealed that it is forecasting C$4.9 billion in annual profit from its three main operating businesses by 2018, an impressive 29% rise on 2014. Technology will be key to achieving this, as the bank looks to make savings and boost efficiency through digitisation.

Like banks all over North America, CIBC will seek to shift transactions to digital channels, investing in an online platform that drives self service. Around $70 million a year will be spent to transform the bank's 1100-strong branch network, with digital zones for routine transactions allowing staff to focus on sales and advice services. Meanwhile, managers will be cut.

A "mobile first" approach will be adopted for all new projects, with more products made available through digital. By 2018, CIBC has set a target of getting 15% of all sales via digital channels, compared to just four per cent today. It also wants 70% of clients engaged with digital, compared to 48% today, and a quarter of assisted channel leads sourced from digital.

CIBC stresses that the technology drive is not simply about saving money but improving customer service and thriving in a market with an ever-increasing number of rivals.

Speaking at the investor day, Victor Dodig said: "We have a plan to compete effectively against our incumbent banks here in our own marketplaces where we compete. We also have a plan to compete with the disruptors that will play a role in the financial ecosystem."

The bank is working with partners such as Telus, Tim Hortons and the MaRS innovation hub. According to the Globe and Mail, partnerships are already in place with two fintech startups, one that is helping CIBC offer free cross-border payments, and another working in the small business lending arena.

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