ANZ to invest $1.5 billion in channel overhaul

ANZ to invest $1.5 billion in channel overhaul

ANZ has unveiled plans for a $1.5 billion tech investment programme to overhaul its branch-based and digital distribution channels, including the roll-out of in-branch videoconferencing and new mobile banking and payments services.

Up to $1.5 billion of ANZ's existing investment plan will be directed to the 'Banking on Australia' programme over the next five years, as the bank bids to simplify products and services and reap significant productivity improvements..

The initiative involves a five-year refurbishment programme of its branches with 46 expected to be completed by the end of 2012. As part of this, ANZ will conduct a major roll-out of Cisco videoconferencing within 43 remote branches, giving regional customers greater access to specialist advice.

ANZ CEO Australia Philip Chronican says: "We've engaged leading Australian interior designers, Geyer, to help us design our branches in a way that facilitates better conversations by removing some of the physical barriers that currently exist."

The bank will also invest in 800 'next-generation' ATMs, allowing 24-hour access to many traditional teller services including immediate credit when depositing notes, coins and cheques.

"The upgrade also means that we will be more readily able to introduce cutting edge technology that makes banking easier such as contactless or cardless transactions," says Chronican.

On the mobile front, ANZ is to launch a banking app that processes same day credit and debit card transactions using an iPhone or iPad and a mobile cash management platform for corporate approval of large payments on-the-move. The banks is also to commence tests of NFC-based mobile wallet technology on Android devices.

Says Chronican: "A trial of an ANZ mobile wallet will kick off today. This will see 25 of our staff, including me, live testing our solution with the aim to make this available to our customers in mid-2013."

The plan has been backed up by an ANZ-commissioned survey into Australian consumer banking preferences, which found that more than three-quarters of the population are more likely to use digital technology over a bank branch for day-to-day banking transactions. But while all ages are embracing the digital revolution, many still want face-to-face interaction for life's "big ticket" items. More than twice as many Australians said they would prefer to apply for a loan (62%) or get mortgage advice (64%) in a bank branch than by using digital technology.

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