BEHIND THE NUMBERS: Building a retail banking platform for tomorrow

If the digital revolution of the past two decades has proven anything, it is customers embrace innovation that empowers them on mobile devices.

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We have seen this in real time over the past year as a series of innovations and new capabilities have been added to our new retail banking platform, ANZ Plus.

"While we are starting small, it is radically different to what we have available today and importantly, at a significantly lower cost to serve for the bank.”

The purpose of ANZ Plus was not to launch a new app or a new product – but rather to build a powerful new retail banking platform from the ground up.

We now live in a world where people have grown up ordering food, booking accommodation and shopping on their smart devices as a first instinct. So how do those people want to bank?

What if banking services were designed not for a world of mainframes and desktops? What if your primary way of dealing with a bank was a platform that was itself a digital native? These are the sorts of ideas that have driven us.

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What we’re building is a powerful new retail banking platform with entirely new systems, processes, products and customer experiences, all underpinned by modern data and technology capabilities.

But at all stages the technology is about meeting the needs of increasingly time-poor customers and ensuring we do so securely.

The cost of operating ANZ Plus is materially lower than our existing retail business. For example, the cost of acquiring a new customer is about 40 per cent lower, which is pretty remarkable.

And the cost of servicing that customer is already around 20 per cent lower and this will improve over time as we get more scale. So, it’s costing us less for our customers to have a better banking experience.

And customers have responded. In the last year ANZ Plus saw a ten-fold increase in customer use, hitting half a million users. Almost 40 per cent of these are new customers to ANZ. There are now $10 billion in deposits in ANZ Plus accounts, which is a 12-fold increase from last year.

ANZ Plus continues to be one of Australia’s fastest growing new digital banking platforms and accounts for more than 50 per cent of new ANZ deposit accounts opened each month.

The technology also allows us to understand the relationships with our customers in newer, deeper ways. For example, 36 per cent of customers on ANZ Plus are actively saving for at least one goal – a car, a holiday, a rainy day or perhaps a home.

Also significantly, ANZ Plus has one of the lowest instances of fraud across the financial services industry. But we are definitely not standing still. In the past 12 months we’ve added more than 200 new features and enhancements – some big, some small and some a first for Australian banking.

These include higher payment limits, protected by SelfieID, a first for Australian banking. In another first for major banks there is a secure in-app video chat with a “Coach” if you need assistance.

Aiding the ongoing effort to combat scams, we introduced Scam Safe – Screen Sharing controls which aims to address the risk of ‘coaching’ scams that involve remote screen takeover of a customer’s banking app. This is the first in a series of features to be rolled out in coming months to help educate and protect our customers against scams.

In a bid to provide more clarity on where their money is being spent, customers can see which merchants have their card details stored to process future transactions. This helps them to keep track of their spending and make any necessary adjustments with our “Card on File” feature.

Most importantly, we now have an ANZ Plus platform for home lending. Our first home loan is now live with customers refinancing to ANZ Plus. This month we released our new digital refinance product to eligible customers – starting with Android customers on 10 November and iOS users this week.

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Simplified process

Buying a home is the biggest financial commitment most people make in their lifetime. And if you’ve applied for a home loan, you’ll agree the process could be easier, faster and less stressful. That is our goal.

The ANZ Plus home lending product is far different to what we offer today. Everything can be done via the ANZ Plus app, there are no forms to print and complete, approval is quick and support is available from ANZ Plus Coaches via chat, phone or in-app video call when needed.

Initially the eligibility criteria for the ANZ Plus refinance product is narrow but will expand over time.

The project has been complex, as home lending – for good reason - is highly regulated. There are 581 external regulations and 112 new controls required for a home loan and we have automated many of these.

The ANZ Plus team has built two new platforms for processing home loan applications and automating credit assessments from scratch.

Our refinance product is just the beginning for ANZ Plus home loans, with additional features, more complex loan types and tools to better help customers own their home sooner to be added over time.

While we are starting small, it is radically different to what we have available today and importantly, at a significantly lower cost to serve for the bank.

This initial release from ANZ Plus home lending is part of a long-term plan to simplify our bank and provide improved products and services to our customers, built on modern systems and processes.

Another milestone will be when we migrate customers to the new platform. This will likely begin in earnest during the 2025 financial year.

We have built a strong foundation, but also a reliable technology and data platform that balances the needs of our customers, employees and shareholders. And it’s just the tip of the iceberg for what we have planned for ANZ Plus.

Maile Carnegie is Group Executive Retail 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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