ANZx emerging into the light

For the past two years we’ve been focused on the transformation of ANZ’s Australian business through a program we called ANZx. Its aim is to build a substantially better bank that provides the tools, support and insights people need to improve their financial wellbeing.

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It’s not about making small improvements on where we are today. The ANZx program will deliver for our customers and bankers now and well into the future.

“We believe ANZ Plus will attract savers by making banking easier with tools and data insights as well as human support.”

The transformation is large and complex, covering many hundreds of products, processes and systems. The ANZx team has grown by 400 people this financial year alone to about 850 people – more than half of them engineers, designers and product owners.

But what exactly is ANZx and how will it change the way we operate as a bank and how our customers interact with us?

Critically, it’s much more than a technology transformation or a new app. It’s designed to deliver four things: a small number of propositions people love to use; a purpose driven, customer-centric culture; better technology to enable fast and responsive change; and lower cost of operations to deliver simple solutions sustainably.

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It will also modernise the bank from within, simplifying platforms and products, improving customer experience and creating a fundamentally enhanced proposition built on modern systems that are both digital and in-person.

The ANZ savings and transaction products will be available via the ANZ Plus app which is currently in testing and will be available from early next year. The app is intuitive and will help customers spend less, save more and create healthy money habits using new features attached to their ANZ Plus accounts.

Following these products, new services will be released during 2022 that will transform our traditional banking model. The program will also revolutionise the experience for our staff and make it possible for them to spend more time helping customers.

But before we get to the new features within ANZ Plus, it’s worth taking a step back to look at the philosophy underpinning the program.

Savers vs spenders

When we look at a particular group of customers, we know the bulk of people who own homes and run businesses are what we describe as savers. They are likely to have a saver mindset rather than a spender mindset. We know from our research savers are also likely to have better money behaviours and be constantly looking for ways to improve their money management.

As a result, across their lifetimes they are likely to accumulate disproportionately more wealth and have a higher number of, and a higher value of, assets. They represent just under half of the Australian population and account for 70 per cent of the assets.

Research also indicates savers want to improve their financial wellbeing.

Financial wellbeing is about being in control day-to-day financially and feeling confident about the future – irrespective of what comes. Based on our data, while everyone may like to improve their financial wellbeing - especially after the last 18 months - savers are likely to want it more.

We developed nine financial wellbeing principles we want to put at the heart of everything we do. Some of these may sound obvious but they underpin the program:

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In the first part of the ANZx program we’ll be focusing on the first three principles and over the next few years we will develop new tools and add features and services to help address the remaining six.

We believe ANZ Plus will attract savers by making banking easier with tools and data insights as well as human support.

While the ANZ Plus app will allow customers to self-serve in most circumstances, they will be supported by coaches. We’ve already recruited a number of coaches and we’re actively recruiting more.

We will also be rolling out new stores where you can get support when you need it. These will be centred on helping improve customers’ financial wellbeing rather than depositing a cheque or ordering a statement.

Keeping things simple

Customers expect more value, transparency and control from their financial institutions and a simpler fee structure. With ANZ Plus we’ve gone from over 200 fee types to less than 10 and we have simplified our terms and conditions.

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Some examples of the features in ANZ Plus that will help this end include:

  • Upcoming expenses – our internally built data platform uses past data to help predict recurring payments (i.e. streaming services, insurance, utilities). It helps customers track their money and acts as a reminder to cancel services they no longer need or plan for a large payment
  •   Multiple savings goals - customers can set and track multiple goals without opening additional accounts. These could include ‘holiday’ and ‘home deposit’ or saving for a car or pet
  • Push notifications – app notifications for deposits and payments. A powerful way to keep people aware of money going into and out of their accounts.

To succeed in this transformation we need to do two things: radically improve the customer proposition and the customer experience; and improve the operational efficiency – the underlying systems, processes and technology that sit underneath.

We have reduced about 300 systems to about 120 and cut the number of retail banking systems from 128 to just 10 key platforms.

Our engineers designed and built a new software product called Fabric which is a modern, custom-built architecture running in Google Cloud. It is robust, secure, highly scalable and will enable rapid delivery of new features. In addition, some of the platforms we’re partnering with include Salesforce and Twilio.

Take joining the bank. This process has been streamlined with ANZ Plus. Customers can join in minutes.

This is just one small example of the simplicity of process that underlines ANZx. We are structurally enhancing the foundations so we are ready and fit to serve the needs of our customers well into the future.

Maile Carnegie is Group Executive, Digital & Australia Transformation

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