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Hylton Kallner is appointed as CEO of Discovery Bank

Financial services group Discovery announces the appointment of Hylton Kallner as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Discovery Bank, with effect from 1 January 2021. Kallner takes over  from Barry Hore, as the Bank has completed its build and migration phase, during which several important milestones were achieved. These include the build of the Bank‘s powerful digital banking capability based on the Shared-Value model, the creation of world-class banking products and the successful migration of all Discovery Card accounts from First National Bank (FNB) to Discovery Bank. The Bank has also seen its first full year of operations, with all user journeys maturing and strong growth to over 500,000 accounts and R5bn in retail deposits. It continues to innovate at a rapid pace, with the latest rewards and digital enhancements being positively received. Building on this momentum and supported by the Bank team, Kallner is taking Discovery Bank forward as it accelerates this growth and increases its focus on integration. 

Commenting on Kallner’s appointment, Discovery Chief Executive Adrian Gore said: “Hylton will leverage his experience as CEO of the SA businesses in building a powerful and integrated composite. His understanding of Discovery’s Shared-Value business model, along with his extensive experience at Discovery Group spanning nearly 25 years, position him well to drive continued growth and success for Discovery Bank. His experience in the conceptualisation and operation of the original Discovery Card and more recently overseeing the provision of core Group services to Discovery Bank, add to the competencies gained in his decade as the group’s Chief Marketing Officer.” 

Kallner1 will step down from his various subsidiary board roles but will retain his role as chair of the Discovery South Africa Exco as the key co-ordination structure across the SA business units. This will enable him to leverage assets across the Group as the Bank focuses on driving strong, high-quality customer growth and value. 

Gore thanked Barry Hore for his invaluable contribution. 

“Over the past five years, Barry has led the build of the Bank from the ground up, culminating in the public launch and completion of the migration of the Discovery Card portfolio from FNB. His unique combination of deep banking and technology experience has been instrumental in establishing a strong operational capability and cutting-edge digital customer proposition, attracting a high-quality customer base and robust retail deposit franchise.” 

He added: “Barry leaves having established a strong and experienced leadership team, supported by deep specialists across multiple disciplines, with significant banking experience. We are hugely thankful to Barry for all he has done and wish him all the best in his future endeavours.” 

Reflecting on his time as CEO of Discovery Bank, Barry Hore said he felt privileged to have had the opportunity to join the Discovery team in creating and building Discovery Bank. 

“I would like to thank the incredible team that has supported me in this journey and feel confident that I am able to leave at this point, having built the strong foundations of a uniquely disruptive banking capability. I am truly proud of what has been achieved as the Bank announces key milestones of attracting more than R5 billion retail deposits, becoming the country’s fastest growing bank in terms of deposits2 and seeing a solid trajectory in credit utilisation, now with over 531,000 accounts held by 295,000 clients.” 

Proven success of Shared-Value banking model 

In just under two years since launching, Discovery Bank deposits are growing three times faster than the market, with strong growth in client spend of R12 billion. Discovery Bank is mobile-first and deposit-led, providing clients with sophisticated lending capabilities from the get-go. It is the 7th largest credit card provider in South Africa, with a 65% lower arrears rate compared to that of the market – having extended over R3.75 billion in credit. 

“At the outset we placed a dedicated focus on the successful migration of clients from the FNB joint venture to our Discovery Bank platform. While this was happening, all aspects of the Bank were fully operational, including our completely digital on-boarding and compelling rewards structure and we’re pleased that 50% of these clients have already upgraded to Discovery Bank,” said Gore. 

“Migrating roughly 223,000 clients to the Discovery Bank system required significant coordination with the support of Visa. Although we aimed to make the process as smooth as possible, it did, at times, influence our ability to maintain the excellent levels of service our clients rightly expected from us. Since then, we’ve placed enormous emphasis on continuing to innovate and improve the customer experience, which is evidenced by how positively the latest rewards and digital enhancements are being received and recent recognition by the Ombudsman for Banking Service’s as the Best Dispute Resolution Bank in the Smaller Bank Category,” Gore added. 

Tremendous take-up of rewards and benefits 

The Discovery Bank app, the main interface for all the Bank’s digital services,

has a rating of 4.6, which is higher than that of the average banking app in South Africa. By November 2020, the app was downloaded more than 344 000 times, and, on average, Discovery Bank cards were swiped or tapped 1.4 times every second with at least 72 other banking transactions every minute. The Bank receives more than 44 000 calls each month and resolves 61% of client queries during the first interaction, indicating the quality and urgency of client service. 

The Bank offers a wide range of free services and benefits to its clients, including: 24/7 client centre contact; free travel insurance with flight tickets purchased using their bank cards; access to a global concierge service to assist with travel planning and entertainment tickets; automatic warranty extension of up to 24 months; short-term protection against theft and accidental damage of selected purchases made using their bank cards. 

Furthermore, Discovery Bank Purple clients have access to a relationship banker, Discovery Purple Servicing, with six free airport lounge visits for Discovery Bank Black and Purple clients, as well as priority lane access at the Cape Town International and Johannesburg OR Tambo airports. 

The Bank’s value proposition has been significantly enhanced via the AI powered incentive programme Vitality Money, more powerful Discovery Miles, and an intuitive client experience.  

In 2020, Discovery Bank clients earned in excess of 4 billion Discovery Miles and spent 3.1 billion Discovery Miles at the various bank partners. Additionally, clients were rewarded with over 1.6 billion Discovery Miles for healthy behaviour – testament of the merit of Shared-value banking.  

“Our experience over this first year has shown us that our model, driven by incentives and rewards is already proving successful in achieving its intended outcomes and changing people’s behaviour with their money. Building a completely new bank without legacy systems has allowed us to combine innovative technology and digital capabilities, as seen with the addition of contactless banking solutions like Discovery Pay and virtual card. With Discovery’s proven understanding of risk and behaviour change, we really believe our Shared-Value bank – the first of its kind – will create a better, stronger society,” Gore concluded.


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