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ANZ is taking further steps in focusing on its technology requirements, introducing the executive role of chief technology officer with Tim Hogarth as its inaugural appointee effective 4 February.
As per the major bank, Mr Hogarth, who previously served as its chief architect from 2020, will be looking at ANZ’s “longer term technology requirements to make sure decisions and investments meet those needs in the future, as well as today”.
Further, Mr Hogarth will also “drive ongoing improvements across engineering and further extend ANZ’s move towards common technology platforms” while playing a “key role ensuring ANZ’s many technology projects align with business plans, and will continue to be accountable for ANZ’s technology architecture”.
Mr Hogarth will report to ANZ Group executive technology Gerard Florian.
Speaking of the appointment, Mr Florian said that the role was created to reflect the “importance of technology leadership” in both his team and across ANZ.
“In recent years Tim has helped us make great progress in further strengthening our architecture objectives and driving ongoing improvements in our engineering standards,” Mr Florian said.
“This track record and Tim’s reputation for being thoughtful, engaging and enthusiastic about all aspects of technology make him a great fit for this new role.”
The announcement of ANZ implementing a CTO follows reports of the major bank’s continued struggle with lengthy turnover times, an issue its leadership has blamed on the limitations of its systems.
Speaking to The Adviser in October, ANZ chief executive Shayne Elliott said that the challenge for the bank was in processing volumes, particularly in the broker channel.
“We had taken – some years ago, way before my time as CEO – a view that, while we love the broker channel, we would be best from a risk perspective to manually test every single application that comes in,” Mr Elliott said.
“So if you go into a branch today and you’re an ANZ customer, we don’t manually assess your loan. Around 60 per cent of the people who go in and they’ve got all the right bits and pieces with them, they’ll walk out of that branch with an in principal approval.”
The CEO added that the loan assessment process “takes a lot more time than it used to”, with the bank choosing to be “extremely cautious and conservative”.
“That means we take too long in assessing some of those applications, so a) we take too long doing it. And b) we didn’t have enough people doing that,” Mr Elliott said.
ANZ group executive for Australia retail and commercial Mark Hand admitted during the group’s investor briefing that same month that, in terms of preparedness, ANZ was not ready.
“But what we have done is constantly improve the business. So our ability to write home loans today is more than double what it was 18 months ago. And we’re in the process of doubling that again,” Mr Hand said.
“But it takes time to automate processes, you need to change systems, you need to retrain staff and you do need to put new staff on.”
Speaking at the group’s annual general meeting in December, ANZ chair Paul O'Sullivan pledged to address the system issues that led to the bank’s stretched turnarounds and the subsequent impact – the group’s book for home loans dropping by $3 billion to $278 billion in the second half of the financial year.
That same month, Momentum Intelligence’s Broker Pulse reported ANZ’s turnover period at an average of 18 days.
Recent data released by APRA also noted that ANZ’s owner-occupied home loan book had slipped $200 million between November’s $173.7 billion to $173.5 billion in December.
Each of the other big four banks reported growth in its owner-occupied loans over the exact same period.
“This year major increases in demand for home loans in Australia impacted our ability to process applications in a timely manner. Unfortunately, this resulted in a loss of market share which was a disappointing outcome,” Mr O'Sullivan said.
“Naturally this has been a major focus for the board and management and we are confident the systematic actions being taken by management will address these issues, including increased investment in automation and process improvement.”
[Related: ANZ's owner-occupier home loan book squeezed]