ANZ is experimenting with the use of voice biometrics for securing customer interactions at the call centre and for authorisation of larger-value cash transactions via mobile phones.
Speaking at a technology briefing in Sydney, ANZ chief executive Phil Chronican said the plans were still in the early stages of gestation, but that the technology could be implemented within the next 12-18 months.
The idea would be to use customer voice prints to approve higher-value transfers to external accounts via mobile phones, and to speed up customer identification at the call centre.
"We're piloting it, we think we'll do it, obviously it's got to pass all the tests," Chronican told journalists at the event.
In October last year, ANZ unveiled plans for a $1.5 billion tech investment programme, dubbed 'Banking on Australia', to overhaul its branch-based and digital distribution channels, including the roll-out of in-branch videoconferencing and new mobile banking and payments services.
"A key element of Banking on Australia is about transforming our distribution channels, simplifying our processes and giving our people access to insights, tools and training to free them up to spend more time with customers having the right conversations," Chronican told the briefing.
A year on from the initiation of the programme, he says the bank has so far invested more than 170,000 hours into training frontline staff to focus on more complex customer needs and introduced 74 new-look sales-focused branches and 43 video conference facilities. In the corporate and commercial arm of the business the bank has deployed 1200 mobile tablets to front line bankers, featuring 8 new apps to demonstrate new products to customers.
"As a result, branch sales have increased seven percent in 2013, even though we experienced a five percent drop in branch traffic," he says.
Chronican cautions that digital isn't an 'either/or' proposition for the bank, with customer surveys reinforcing the value of the branch for more complex financial needs.
"Our customers don't think about channels," he says. "They expect a seamless, personal experience at every touch point with ANZ - regardless of whether they choose to interact with us online today and in a branch tomorrow."