Speaking after an ANZ management trip to Silicon Valley in the United States, Whelan said large banks in the country were not as far ahead of Australian banks the digital space as some believe.
“We pressed them a little bit on [digital] and we didn't get a great answer back, which means to me they haven't nailed it," he said. “What [ANZ has] been doing a lot in the front end with transactions and credit cards and mobile payments and goMoney, they've been doing the same."
While progress has been made, Whelan said, there are still big opportunities for banks that manage to successfully embed digital processes all the way through their businesses.
“Where banks have failed traditionally, right across the board, is around taking digitisation or automation right through the organisation," he said. “I don't think anyone has really nailed that well."
“So if [banks] can get that front-end customer experience right with the automation internally and look at that as an end-to-end result for the customer, not a single product, I think you end up in a really good space."
Whelan said ANZ had already started to shift the way it thinks about the customer experience, taking quite a different approach than it has in the past.
“I think we're on the journey," he said. “I wouldn't say we're customer-centric yet. But do I think we're better than where we were say, five years ago? Absolutely."
“I think we're getting better at it. A lot of the conversations that we now have at Management Board are around 'What more can we do for the customer?'"
Other senior managers that went on the trip included ANZ chief HR officer Susie Babani, group chief operating officer Alistair Currie, chief technology officer Patrick Maes and chief information officer Scott Collary.