Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) reported it ended the 2021 financial year on a high as it continued to make "good progress" on its multi-year digital transformation program.
For the year ending 30 September 2021, statutory profit after tax came in at just over AU$6 billion, up 72% on the prior year.
Total investment for the full year was AU$1.8 billion. Of that, 24% went towards productivity and simplification projects including migrating to the cloud, improving the digital customer and banking experience, and introducing further automation capabilities.
Meanwhile, 47% was invested into its regulatory, compliance, and risk activities, including open banking and cybersecurity. Another 22% of total investment went towards growth opportunities, up 18% in FY20. This included investment in sustainability, the bank's innovation arm 1835i that was launched in July, platforms, and ANZx, an internal division that has been established by the company to focus on long-term tech investments.
"We continue to invest in group-wide automation, cloud migration, and digitisation to enable low cost, sustainable customer growth," ANZ CEO Shayne Elliot said.
"In Australia, we are building growth-oriented retail and small business propositions centred around delivering compelling digital offerings that will improve the financial wellbeing of our customers and drive long-term customer and revenue growth. We have our eye on the long-term opportunity and made significant progress and these investments, known internally as ANZx, will become more visible to customers into 2022.
"New Zealand is expected to continue to deliver robust returns and maintain its strong market position.
"Institutional is now a better-balanced, more predictable, and higher-returning business. We are in a strong position to take advantage of the structural tailwinds we believe will impact institutional banking, particularly in a rising interest rate environment and the buildout of our banking platforms business. Changes from the implementation of APRA's proposed capital reforms are also likely to be a further tailwind for Institutional.
He also added that simplifying the business drove down the costs of running the bank for the third consecutive year.
Other highlights for the year, according to the blue bank, included seeing 49% of retail sales in Australia are now done through digital channels, up from 40% in FY20. For instance, applications for the company's automated business lending proposition, ANZ GoBiz, averaged 2,900 per month since launching in May 2021.
Similarly in New Zealand, 41% of retail sales, including home loans, are now through digital channels, up from last year's 38%.
ANZ also reported transactions processed by the bank on the new payments platforms for other banks increased 112% year-on-year, while there was a 24% increase in the volume of payments made by customers through its digital payments platform.
Looking forward to the year ahead, the bank outlined some of the key priorities would include continuing its investment in simplification and productivity, and positioning the bank for a digital home loan proposition.
"Experience tells us the real impacts of COVID-19 will not be fully understood until at least the end of 2022," Elliot says.
"However, we're well-positioned financially and culturally to respond. There will be opportunities that arise and we are investing for growth with the mindset and agility to continue to deliver for customers, shareholders, and the community."