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Westpac New Zealand grows digital connection with customers

In a market update, Westpac New Zealand has reported it now sees a majority of customers choosing to do their banking via digital channels.

Westpac New Zealand has reported that more than half of its customers continued to connect with the bank through digital means during the 2015 financial year.

The company reported that 52.5 percent of customers were using digital by the second half of 2015, up from 50.5 percent from the corresponding period the previous year.

According to Westpac New Zealand, since the launch of Westpac One, a new internet and mobile banking platform, 67 percent of customer access now occurs via mobile devices, and there was a 7 percent increase in digital customers to 705,000 as of September 30, 2015.

At the same time, the company reported teller deposits have fallen by 11 percent over the year. This has, however, been offset by the 37 percent of customers that made deposits through Smart ATMs during 1Q16, a 4 percent increase from 1H15.

In addition, the company highlighted during the market update that digital transformation will continue to be a key strategy focus for the company. Specifically it will involve channel transformation, simplification and automation, and enhancing its services to the government.

Westpac New Zealand said as part of its eight-year contract with the New Zealand government and its 36 agencies, it will deliver enhancements including process engineering to automate payments and reconciliations, as well as new digital interfaces to support self-serve and improve debt collection such as student loans. The bank said it plans to also introduce new mobile payment tools.

Westpac New Zealand also reiterated that it is well-positioned for the current environment as it continues to invest in its digital transformation, increase sales via digital channels, and provide more self-service options.

Last November, Westpac Group reported a statutory net profit for the 2015 full year of AU$8 billion, up 6 percent over the prior year.

Technology expenses came in at AU$354 million post-tax, up 12 percent compared to the 2014 full year. The bank said the increase in technology expenses was due to higher investment related expenses, including an increase in software amortisation and IT equipment depreciation of AU$118 million, higher software licensing, and an increase in telecommunications costs related to branch video conference capability.

"Linked to service leadership, the group has continued to roll out new and innovative technologies that support customers and provide a better experience for customers and our new employees," the bank said at the time.