Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) continued to invest heavily in technology during the 2015 financial year, evident by the 15 percent lift in total technology expenses.
The company said that total technology expenses increased by AU$196 million from the AU$1.3 billion reported last year to AU$1.5 billion this year. ANZ attributed part of the increase to the AU$30 million that was made up of foreign exchange translation, with AU$166 million due to increased depreciation and amortisation on key infrastructure projects, higher data storage, software licence costs, and increased use of outsourced and managed services.
The bank also reported that its full-year statutory profit after tax increased by 3 percent, to AU$7.5 billion.
ANZ said it focused on using technology as part of its enterprise approach to operations, with the belief that it will deliver better control and lower unit costs.
"Digitisation is becoming central to ANZ's business operations, reshaping how ANZ works, not just how technology enables better solutions for customers. The group's aim is to create a digital bank, one that allows us to stream operations such that we deliver fast, easy, and innovative solutions for our customers while also reducing the operational complexity of the organisation and thereby improving productivity and reducing risk," it said.
To reflect this strategy, the company's technology investments over the last year have included delivering multichannel platforms that enable employee mobility, products such as GoMoney and MobilePay, security systems, and enhancing internet banking.
Furthermore, ANZ signed up with IBM's Watson Engagement Advisor Tool in a bid to improve its financial advice process, and extend the service to 400 financial planners around the country.
The bank also rolled out its tap and PIN automated teller machines to allow customers to make withdrawals without the need to insert their card into the machine, and instead rely on near-field communication (NFC) technology.
In August, the bank also recruited people from Twitter, Dimension Data, and former employees of PayPal and Procter and Gamble to establish a technology panel to help with the bank's digital transformation.
In Australia specifically, ANZ said it focused on enhancing its digital platforms by delivering "simplification and digitisation of end-to-end customer channels, ensuring a consistent digital experience across any channel or device, improving both the customer and banker experience. This is underpinned by ongoing investment in data analytics capabilities."
Similarly, in New Zealand, ANZ increased its investment in digital and sales capabilities. As a result, sales revenue generated from digital channels increased by 32 percent.
"A focus on delivering a great digital experience for customers has seen ANZ's mobile banking app 'goMoney' consistently scoring above 98 percent in customer satisfaction and, with over half a million customers, it is the most downloaded banking app in New Zealand," the bank said.
Additionally, ANZ said for its Global Wealth arm, it plans to launch an "Advice on Grow" tool in July to help improve further planner performance.
"We are continuing to evolve our strategy and accelerate its execution to maximise value of our customers and for our shareholders. There are significant opportunities for ANZ; however, lower economic growth, intense competition, the growing cost of regulation, and market volatility present headwinds for all banks," concluded ANZ chief executive officer Mike Smith.