BEHIND THE NUMBERS: Innovating at pace

When we started building ANZ Plus a few years ago, our mission was to build a substantially better Australia Retail bank with increased flexibility and modern banking systems to better support our customers. We needed something nimble to respond quickly and deliver customers an improved experience in the process.

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We’ve made remarkable progress in ANZ Plus in the last two years – much of which has been possible due to new technology and capability now in place. ANZ Plus isn’t just a new app or upgraded banking product – it’s an entirely new retail banking platform built from the ground up.

“Because of the efficiency of the new systems, the cost to acquire each of those new customers is about 45 per cent below what it costs for ANZ accounts.”

The value of the ANZ Plus platform is both the benefit it provides to our customers and our ability to pivot and innovate at pace. And as we report our half year financial results today, shareholders will increasingly see ANZ Plus making an impact.

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By the end of March there were about 660,000 customers on the ANZ Plus platform. This is growing by an average of 35,000 customers each month – about half of whom are new to bank.

ANZ Plus has more than $13 billion in deposits, which is about 8 per cent of our retail deposit base. While this is still a relatively small part of the deposit base, it is growing quickly. 

Overall deposits have more than doubled in one year and are continuing to grow.

And because of the efficiency of the new systems, the cost to acquire each of those new customers is about 45 per cent below what it costs for ANZ accounts. In addition, the cost of servicing those customers is about 30 per cent lower.

But the real benefit is what we can do for our customers – as evidenced by the rapid deployment of new features on the platform. Many of these new features delivered in the last year are aligned with widening the number of customers we can serve and improving our customers’ financial wellbeing.

The most recent feature is joint accounts.

This means our customers can now experience their individual everyday and savings accounts, with the added benefit of sharing this with a joint account partner.

Other recent features include Round Ups, which is like a passive form of saving. With Round Ups, customers can automatically round up eligible card purchases to the nearest $1, $2, $5 or $10 and transfer those funds to their “Savings Jar” or a savings goal. For example, if you set this to the nearest dollar, when you buy your morning coffee for $4.70, 30 cents will automatically go into your savings.

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This kind of passive saving allows customers to make contributions to their savings goals without having to manually move money between accounts. It’s a great way to help our customers improve their financial wellbeing and it’s surprising how much these small amounts add up to over time.

More than $4 million has been saved so far using Round Ups. And about 47 per cent of customers are using at least one of our financial wellbeing features – including creating specific savings goals.

Customers are also making use of another new feature called Card On File. This allows customers to view within the ANZ Plus App a list of which merchants have stored their card details.

Customers can keep a closer track in one place of which merchants are debiting money from their accounts. Again, it can quickly add up for many people by the time you account for Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Spotify, Telstra, Uber, a gym membership and more.

This can be useful as consumers can make better informed budgeting decisions as inflation and the cost-of-living worries leads consumers to review their spending.

Fraud and scams

Another area where ANZ Plus has made great progress is in the new platforms’ ability to adapt to the evolving threat of fraud and scams.

We’re working to combat scams through our Scam Safe initiative, which includes new and enhanced controls, scam-focused features and educational content to help keep customers safe.

This includes disabling screen-sharing by default to combat scammers duping customers into allowing remote takeover of their digital devices. In addition, we’ve improved education for customers about the risks of screen sharing and scams where criminals “coach” victims on what to do next.

We’ve also introduced location-based security which helps identify unusual activity from unexpected locations. This is particularly useful for SMS/toll related scams where customers are tricked into providing card details which scammers use to add to their own digital wallets.

We’ve also tightened restrictions around customers transferring funds to so-called crypto exchanges. Data tells us a high proportion of scams involve money being taken this way.

The Australian Financial Crime Exchange estimates half of all scam funds are directed to accounts associated with cryptocurrency exchanges. So we’ve instituted a $10,000 monthly limit on funds being transferred to these exchanges.

Looking ahead, we’re continuing to expand the number of customers eligible for our ANZ Plus digital home loan, allowing more customers to refinance their existing home loan to ANZ Plus.

We will continue to expand the home lending offering with more features, additional eligibility and more complex loan types over time.

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We’re also piloting and exploring how we deploy generative artificial intelligence to improve services – including more tools to manage money, resolve customer enquiries, detect fraud and provide fair property valuations.

Finally, the ability to quickly grow and innovate with pace will be of great benefit in another strategic endeavour – our proposed acquisition of Suncorp Bank.

As we prepare for Suncorp Bank we will build out ANZ Plus propositions to match and exceed Suncorp Bank customer expectations. And we’re already preparing to migrate existing ANZ customers to ANZ Plus from next financial year.

These developments highlight the adaptability of ANZ Plus and the benefits the new retail banking platform brings to both the business and our customers. The solid foundation we’ve built will stand us in good stead as we continue to work towards delivering a substantially better retail bank in Australia.

With our transact, save and refinance offerings in market and new, innovative capabilities in the pipeline, we are well on the way to achieving this.

Maile Carnegie is Group Executive, Australia 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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