Mobile Users and Online Transactions Spotlight Super-Regional Truist’s Digital Transformation


Super-regional bank Truist’s latest results show a digital transformation that rivals the largest national FIs.

Coming off a year where Truist— formed from the 2019 merger between SunTrust and BB&T — launched Truist Assist, Truist Invest Pro and Truist Trade, management spotlighted continued digital growth and online client engagement.

The company’s Thursday (Jan. 19) supplemental materials reveal that mobile app users grew 3% in the fourth quarter from the end of the first quarter, to 4.4 million users. Digital transactions grew by 13% over the same period to 65.7 million, while Zelle transactions surged by 42% to 19 million in the latest period. Average consumer loans in the quarter were up $3.3 billion, or 2.7%, primarily due to growth in residential mortgage loans, the company said in its release. The company’s branch count was down 16% year on year due to merger-related branch closures through 2022 (in the wake of the 2019 deal) , to 2,123 locations.

Echoing the commentary and actions last week by the national players, Truist boosted its credit loss provisions, by $467 million in the fourth quarter, up from a release of reserves last year that stood at $103 million. The reserves, management stated on the call, come in tandem with a “moderately slower” economic outlook, and credit trends are beginning to normalize.

Net charge-offs were $273 million in the quarter, at a 0.27% ratio, up from last year’s $182 million and 0.25% ratio.

During the conference call with analysts, CEO Bill Rogers took note of ongoing digital initiatives and pointed to last year’s opening of its Innovation and Technology Center, which he said “brings our cross-functional teams together with clients and large tech companies to reimagine banking experiences for everyone. We’ve already realized the benefits of the ITC as Truist one banking and the new digital and hybrid investment capabilities launched throughout the year were all co-created client with clients.”

The double-digit growth in Zelle, he said, “highlights the importance of continuing to invest in money movement capabilities.”

Management also noted on the call that the super-regional bank piloted a new deposit product on a next-generation real-time cloud-based core, which has in turn  enhanced credit decisioning and underwriting. The company also called out contact center technology stack and completed a 5G network and branch Wi-Fi pilot program.

As noted in past PYMNTS coverage, in May of last year Truist said it had launched an innovation division that it said will function as “a startup within the bank.” That same month the company also acquired gamified mobile finance app Long Game. A Truist spokesperson told PYMNTS in an email at the time that the with a cross-functional team of business, design, operations, product, risk and technology professionals, the Truist Foundry will “deliver game-changing products and serve the bank’s LOBs [lines of business].”

In response to analyst questions during the fourth quarter conference call, management said Thursday that the super-regional bank has been able seen positive performance in deposits, where the competitors are larger banks — but where Truist has strong 21% average deposit share in its markets.