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Incoming ANZ retail boss eyes home loans

The newly named executive who will take over the retail bank has prioritised restoring the group’s competitive force in mortgages, as its digital offering is set to launch.

Last Tuesday (1 March), ANZ declared that it was restructuring the group, with the digital business, including ANZx, to be consolidated with the retail bank.

Under the changes, Mark Hand, ANZ group executive for Australia retail and commercial, will assist chief executive Shayne Elliott in establishing the commercial business as a new separate unit for around four months, before he will depart from the group later in the year.

In his place, Maile Carnegie, ANZ group executive, digital and Australia transformation, will step up as the new group executive, Australian retail.

Ms Carnegie has outlined her plans for the bank, in an interview published on ANZ blog BlueNotes.

Her priorities across the business includes improving the performance of home loans, but also to execute a smooth integration of the retail and digital teams.

“We know that we have to increase our competitiveness in home loans and get our revenue momentum going, we know we’ve got to get the first ANZ Plus proposition and making sure that it’s not just landing well but we can see that it’s improving the financial wellbeing of our customers,” she said.

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“We need to accelerate the ANZ Plus home loan proposition, we’ve got to make sure our resources are properly allocated across the teams, etc. So we know the priorities.”

The bank has previously flagged efforts to reverse the downwards trend in its home loan book. ANZ’s last financial results showed its mortgage book fell by $3 billion over the six months to September, to a total of $278 billion.

During the company’s annual meeting in December, chair Paul O’Sullivan explained the group had lost market share in mortgages as a result of its lagging loan assessment times.

For Ms Carnegie, there is challenge in balancing resources between the group’s short-term and long-term goals, particularly as there is an “urgency to make sure [it is] back in market with mortgages”.

“The [elements] I want to spend a bit more time on are the organisational priorities and making sure we’re really clear so when we bring these two big teams together, that we are really high performing,” Ms Carnegie said.

“So how can we, when bringing the teams together, make sure things like our decision making is sped up, that we’ve got really great communication and relationships across the newly formed team.”

ANZ Plus is coming

ANZ is also about to launch its new digital banking product, ANZ Plus, around the end of March.

A digital home loan proposition is set to follow, with Ms Carnegie stating the ANZx team is hoping to finish development and to release a beta version later in the year.

As explained by Ms Carnegie, the initial launch will focus on savings and transaction accounts distributed via a new app, supported by “coaches”.

ANZ has marketed the offering as centred around financial wellbeing, saying ANZ Plus is designed to help customers manage their spending, with financial coaching.

“So it is kind of confined at this point to savings and transaction accounts and is minimum-viable but the engine we are building means you’re going to see a lot of functionality continue to drop to get it from minimum-viable to hopefully best in class,” Ms Carnegie said.

“So for example, across March and April I think we’ve got about 40 bits of functionality that we’re going to be releasing just for these first two products.”

The group is also looking to pilot what new physical branches or stores could look like, Ms Carnegie said.

“Because this is not just a digital proposition – we also want to support it with actual really great coaches or people and some stores,” she said.

“So there’s a lot to go but it’s never going to end. Our customers continue to increase their expectations and we’ve got to keep pace with them.”

ANZ has also simplified its home loan range, recently scrapping its Breakfree package, which allowed customers to bundle their home loan with other products such as a credit card or offset account.

[Related: ANZ CEO denies retail boss chopped over mortgage issues]

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