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Antonia Watson, CEO

Antonia Watson

Chief Executive Officer

ANZ New Zealand LTD

After more than two years of disruptions, including lockdowns and huge supply chain challenges, businesses are now desperate for a return to something akin to normal.

Many would like to see the economy as it was before COVID-19, but a lot has changed, and it is clear some of these changes are here to stay.

As the country’s largest bank, ANZ has seen a marked shift in the way our customers are managing and spending their money – with digital innovation at the forefront.

During lockdown we saw a huge shift towards sales through online stores. Now, even though brick-and-mortar shops are open again for business, that has continued.

The convenience, safety and comfort of shopping online during the pandemic appears to have changed the way we shop.

Consumers are also more conscious of the environmental and social impacts of the goods and services they are buying.

This digital transformation has created many new opportunities, and ANZ has been working with businesses to allow them to adapt quickly.

Their future success now depends on being able to capitalise on the changes they made during this extraordinary time.

Over the course of the pandemic we’ve also seen a strong increase in the number of personal banking customers registering for our digital channels, including ANZ Internet Banking and the goMoney mobile app.

It’s been great to see a large increase in customers aged over 65.

As a result of the shift towards banking digitally, we now see a third less over-the-counter transactions and fewer than 1% of all transactions are now made in person.

Customers have also moved to embrace the suite of secure digital banking tools we offer.

In March this year we successfully rolled out a new innovative billing tool within our goMoney app called View Bills.

We’ve found that View Bills users are less likely to miss a bill payment, and more likely to pay a bill before the due date.

It may seem like a relatively minor change, but helping customers get on top of their bills has the potential to make a huge difference to many people’s lives.

The lockdowns and changes to alert levels have also highlighted the importance of everyone having the confidence and ability to connect online.

ANZ has helped fund a long-term digital literacy programme run by Age Concern, which helps older New Zealanders safely use online services – including digital banking.

Our branch teams have run one-on-one workshops in retirement villages, helping residents become more aware of fraud and better equipped to use the digital tools available.

We’ve continued to enhance the security systems behind our banking platforms using better data and the latest technology, and have been able to prevent an increasing amount of fraud.

As one of the country’s largest employers, we had to make some dramatic changes of our own when the pandemic hit, especially around the way our staff work.

In the space of a few weeks we changed from having two-thirds of our staff in the office full time to having 90 per cent of them working from home.

Roles that were formerly considered to be ’in-office’ positions now had to be done remotely, with the all the same security and privacy protections.

Our technology teams played an important role in this rapid change, and we expect digital innovations will continue to be key as we work out what a return to the office looks like.

We’ve continued to build this area of our business – and it was our previous investment in a strong digital team which allowed us to operate despite the disruptions.

Our staff have been able to work successfully together through this period thanks to new and convenient video calling and file-sharing systems.

Now, as we contemplate what a new normal looks like in terms of flexible working, we must balance how our people want to work with how we can best serve the needs of our customers.

We’ve made flexible working a core part of how we operate and now, more than ever, working from home, as well as collaborating with teammates in person, is the new normal.

It’s clear there is no one-size-fits-all model for all teams, but technology and digital tools are now a fundamental part of the mix – and a key part of our business, post-Covid.