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The future of banking – and government - depends on partnerships

When we think about the leaders in customer service, product design and innovation, we don’t tend to think of banks. We might think of Apple, Amazon, Spotify, Airbnb – but probably not banks.

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Yet that’s exactly the comparison customers make. They want their bank to be intuitive like Spotify, innovate like Apple and offer the experience of Amazon, 24 hours a day.

" We need to think differently, listen more to our customers and be more flexible so we can adapt rapidly to meet their needs.”

When I’m asked about the future of banking, the honest answer is I have no idea what the precise endpoint will look like. What I do know is customers will demand a lot more of banks and if we don’t meet their needs, somebody else will.

We need to think differently, listen more to our customers and be more flexible so we can adapt rapidly to meet their needs.

That’s a challenge we’re tackling every day but it’s not just banks or industry facing such expectations. Governments are also facing escalating demands from citizens.

Why shouldn’t citizens expect their governments to deliver the same seamless, intuitive, innovative services the world leaders in customer service deliver?

Partners

Like banks, governments are facing changing expectations from their citizens and need to respond in a way that’s intuitive, flexible and innovative.

In response, ANZ and the New South Wales state government have struck a partnership which will see the bank provide services across cash management, payments, merchant acquiring and cross-border banking from April 2019.

The agreement will see services divided between ANZ and incumbent Westpac. 

The NSW government is progressive in its thinking and ANZ is confident this partnership will draw upon its experience and expertise in digital banking and transformations to help drive the state’s vision for the future.

The deal also makes ANZ an innovation partner to the NSW government, which will leverage the bank’s capability and experience in data analytics, agile methodologies and human-centred design.

Deeper future

ANZ knows the future of the bank depends on deeper partnerships with fintechs, tech companies, other industries and governments - partnerships where the complementary skills of different participants can deliver a step change in joint value creation.

When working with government, ANZ can bring deep experience in digital banking, an understanding of financial ecosystems, expertise in transformations and recognition of the value of relationships.

ANZ’s shared ambition with its partners is to provide seamless (including digital where necessary) services for citizens – who are often our customers as well.

For some time now banks such as ANZ have been adopting new technologies to improve customer service - tech like Apple Pay, the New Payments Platform, banking apps or blockchain-based trade finance.

New technologies and protocols, like APIs and open banking, are emerging and transforming financial relationships. They can also transform the relationships governments have with citizens.

The insight and innovation ANZ can offer shouldn’t just make interactions easier, it should make them better, deliver citizens (and customers) the outcomes they want.

Open ecosystems

Leigh Mahoney

Financial services used to be relatively linear. There were savers, borrowers, payment makers and payment takers. But today financial systems are so complex they are better understood as ‘ecosystems’ – open, platform-based, constantly feeding back new data, enriching the flow of information as well as money.

If ANZ’s customers and a state’s citizens expect to receive the same levels of service they expect from, say, Amazon, that requires a fully integrated financial and banking ecosystem in order to support that proposition.

At the heart of this transformation from straightforward transactions to ecosystems is something ANZ has been working on for a long time: a single view of the customer.

Without such a single, rich understanding we are left with a spaghetti of transactions and confetti of personal data. With such an understanding all the elements of an ecosystem can work together.

Additionally, while we still can’t predict the future of banking, we can be much more flexible and adaptable to meet the challenges and deliver what customers want as the world changes.

For a government, a single view of a citizen is where better service must start and that depends on digital transformation, operational efficiency and a centralised and integrated financial infrastructure.

Leigh Mahoney is Head of Wholesale Digital at ANZ

Transformation

ANZ is well into a digital transformation of traditional banking. The roadmap the bank has developed translates to partners like governments. For example, the bank has overhauled the way it is structured, adopting agile methodology so what it does is faster, simpler and more-attuned to outcomes rather than process.

Central to the transformation is the principle of human-centred design, a way of creating products and services directly from the experience and needs of the end user.

Historically major corporations designed products and then tried to convince customers they needed them. That’s completely back-to-front: we should understand what customers need and design around them. That too is the ideal for governments with their citizens.

Governments have very complex relationships with their citizens. From a banking perspective there is cash management, commercial cards, trade finance, merchant acquiring and foreign exchange, just for a start. Citizens always want efficiency and a modern financial ecosystem underpins that.

Critically, delivering services digitally also frees up government employees for interactions which benefit from being in person, where citizens need to talk to a real person to solve complex or sensitive issues.

As a bank, ANZ’s aim is to deliver genuine value to customers, includes delivering services in an efficient and effective manner – that’s better for our staff and shareholders too. Governments aim at essentially the same thing: better products and services for their citizens at a lower cost to taxpayers.

Maile Carnegie is Group Executive Digital Banking at ANZ

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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