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LLB Annual Report 2023 de

Information unaudited Information ungeprüft wiLLBe – driver of the digital transformation

In summer 2022, LLB launched its purely digital asset management app wiLLBe. But wiLLBe is much more than just an app for investing and saving. We interviewed Group CDO Patrick Fürer and project manager Wolfgang Mair about this lighthouse project with many facets.

Launched as an app for investments, wiLLBe was expanded in 2023 to include savings. According to the official communication, “In addition to the expected commercial success, wiLLBe is also a driver of technological innovation and cultural change within LLB.” Patrick Fürer, what exactly does that mean?

Patrick Fürer: wiLLBe was always meant to be the spearhead of LLBʼs digitalisation efforts. And indeed, the app has opened up a huge field of learning for us with regard to modern technologies, especially in Online and Mobile Banking. But of course we donʼt just want to learn, we also want to gain clients – clients who are connected to us purely digitally, without physical interaction.

Wolfgang Mair, project manager, and Patrick Fürer, Group CDO, report on the experience gained and lessons learnt from the wiLLBe lighthouse project.

wiLLBe can already do much more today than when it was launched in summer 2022. Do you expect to add even more functions?

Wolfgang Mair: As with learning, the journey is never over when it comes to digitalisation. We will continue to develop the product and at the same time figure out why we havenʼt yet been quite as successful as weʼd hoped in some areas, at least with regard to investing. This is why we are carrying out ongoing analyses and making the necessary adjustments. wiLLBe will continue to offer innovations and optimisations. We are still examining the precise direction this will take.

“As with learning, the journey is never over when it comes to digitalisation.”

Wolfgang Mair, project manager wiLLBe

That almost sounds as if youʼre developing something without a specific master plan, then launching it on the market and letting yourself be surprised as to whether it actually works.

Wolfgang Mair: Thatʼs definitely an oversimplification. But thatʼs pretty much how things work in the tech industry. You can think, analyse, and test for a long time – but whether something actually works is revealed only in practice. Itʼs an illusion to believe that with enough preparation and brainpower you can build a solution that works right from the start. We had to learn that too. We put a lot of time and thought into wiLLBe in advance, fine-tuning the product to improve it step by step. But in the end, the market decides. We are all the more pleased that weʼve been able to achieve the desired success with wiLLBe.

What does that mean in concrete terms? How has the market responded to wiLLBe?

Wolfgang Mair: At the end of 2023, we already had more than 13ʼ000 wiLLBe clients, the vast majority in overnight money. In investing, client numbers have tended to be below our expectations. However, this is due in part to various external factors such as inflation, the general geopolitical situation, and the situation on the capital markets.
What has also worked very well is our positioning in the market. We were able to gain clients especially in Germany – about 80 %. This allows us to drive forward our growth strategy in Germany and increase our brand recognition there in general.

Patrick Fürer, going back to the beginning of our conversation: If you had to decide what weighs more, the commercial success or the gain in knowledge and experience thanks to wiLLBe – what would your answer be?

Patrick Fürer: I believe that it is vital for the bankʼs long-term success that we are open to new ideas and that we approach the digital transformation with enthusiasm and self-confidence. We have already achieved a lot and, with wiLLBe, we have created a digital platform that allows us to make further progress, quickly and flexibly, towards becoming a digital bank. In this way, we are learning new things every day, gaining experience, and sharing successes. A cultural change is taking place, and a new, young spirit is finding its way into the bank. This development gives me immense satisfaction every day.

“I believe that it is vital for the bankʼs long-term success that we are open to new ideas and that we approach the digital transformation with enthusiasm and self-confidence.”

Patrick Fürer, Group CDO