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BEHIND THE NUMBERS: A new retail bank emerges

It would be an understatement to say 2022 has been a big year for ANZx.

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The mission for ANZx is to help build a substantially better Australian retail bank. It’s about shaping ANZ for the future and such a transformation of our Australian business is large and complex.

“Buying a home is the biggest financial transaction most people make in their lifetime and our automated, transparent and secure digital experience will make it seamless. We want to cut the time to a decision for potential home owners from days to minutes.”

When describing the development of ANZx it’s helpful to think about it like the construction of a skyscraper. We have been busy for the last couple of years working on the foundations and now we are starting to see some of the building emerge toward the skyline.

The first is the ANZ Plus savings and transaction product. Since launch more than 60,000 customers have joined using the simple, safe and secure process.

Pleasingly about a third of those customers are new to ANZ and about 80 per cent of them joined without the need for any assistance from staff – some late at night and many on weekends. Customers can set up their account securely in minutes needing only a passport or Australian driver's license and a selfie.

Fast growth

And from this month customers can also open an ANZ Plus account using an international passport. It’s one of the many features we’ve been gradually adding since launch, more than 500 in total now. ANZ Plus also recently become the fastest new digital bank in Australia to reach $A1 billion in deposits.

We believe customers are choosing ANZ Plus because it’s easy to use, is very secure, has a great savings rate and has intuitive tools to help them save.

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Next to emerge will be our home lending proposition which will help customers buy and own a home faster. Customers will be able to apply for and manage their loan via their mobile phone, with approval in minutes and support from an ANZ Plus Coach whenever they need it.

Buying a home is the biggest financial transaction most people make in their lifetime and our automated, transparent and secure digital experience will make it seamless. We want to cut the time to a decision for potential homeowners from days to minutes while ensuring customers requiring help can access it. We will be going into a beta test with staff before the end of the year with our initial home lending offering launching to market later in 2023.

As part of the new retail banking platform, we have built more than 200 new, re-usable business services such as customer identification and customer access management. We are re-using three quarters of these for home lending.

We also followed a set of principles designed to help our customers buy a home and own it sooner. These included using data before documents and building a living statement of financial position for our customers.

Having this dynamic position with data from both ANZ and other financial institutions will make it easier and quicker for us to make home loan decisions for our customers.

Informed choices

That decision will be mobile first with a fast and transparent application process and automated credit decisions, where appropriate. This would involve an 80 per cent reduction in manual verification.

The process will also be enhanced with external property data allowing our customers to make more informed choices about the homes they want to target.

While the offering will initially be focused on the refinancing market it will be market-leading and fully digital all the way through to settlement.

Customers can keep track of their home loan from start to finish, including automated document generation and direct integration with property exchange PEXA. This will not be a digital front and analogue back end using legacy systems.

The ongoing management of their home loan will be made easier for customers with smart tools and notifications prompting them to adjust their loan as their situation changes. This includes managing loan features like offsets, redraws, repayments and statements, all within the ANZ Plus app.

The other key element of the design of ANZ Plus is the focus on improving the financial wellbeing of our customers. But what do we mean when we say we want to improve our customers’ financial wellbeing?

One example is saving regularly towards a goal and this has really taken off on ANZ Plus. About 45 per cent of active customers have set themselves a goal and a significant number have set more than one. For perspective, only about 5 per cent of customers set goals on our existing ANZ platform.

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Uniquely, with ANZ Plus, customers can have multiple savings buckets (up to 99) all within the one account without conditions such as maintaining a minimum balance or depositing money every month.

To date the most popular goal has been saving for a holiday followed by saving for a home and then an even split between people saving for a car or for rainy day expenses. There is also value for us knowing these goals and how our customers are tracking – it means we can offer appropriate products and services at the right time.

Moreover, helping our customers improve financial wellbeing is good for our shareholders too as these customers will have a deeper, longer engagement with us.

Another major issue ANZ Plus is addressing is the increase in fraud and scams. Protecting our customers information and money has never been more important and the design of ANZ Plus has allowed us to make that a reality.

Stolen document numbers aren’t sufficient to join ANZ Plus. Customers submit scans of their license or passport to prove they are in possession of the document and enable us to check their authenticity. The mix of physical and digital identification, including selfie verification, mitigates the risk of someone else using stolen identification or details to join ANZ Plus.

We also use the security of a customer’s device in preference to weaker SMS-based authentication methods - and we never have to ask questions based on personal information to identify customers.

As a result there has been almost no fraud on ANZ Plus accounts since launch and we’ve prevented about 70 people trying to join with false documentation.

While there is much still to do, we feel we have the right foundations in place to continue to build a new retail bank – without the constraints of legacy technology and focussed on the financial wellbeing of our customers.

Peter Dalton is Managing Director, Design & Delivery at ANZx

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