An interview with Harry Wendt


Sainsbury: What are your priorities for the next 12-18 months?


Wendt: Our priority is to continue to provide simple and compelling solutions that support our customers’ financial needs.


Sainsbury: Where do you see the greatest opportunities for mobile applications to enhance the customer user experience?


Wendt: Mobile provides us with a unique opportunity to provide personalised services to customers in context of where they are and what they are doing.


Sainsbury: Westpac’s recent iPad application was deliberately designed with simple functionality. What was the thinking behind that initiative, and how will the iPad app be developed further into the future?


Wendt: The design and functionality of the app was driven by customer feedback. We wanted to take full advantage of the gesture and touch capabilities of the iPad to simplify the day-to-day banking experience.   Our next release in November aims is to increase the functionality available, while keeping the simplicity of the design.


Sainsbury: What role do you see NFC playing in the payments space as it matures as a technology?


Wendt: NFC is already playing a major role in card payments with major retailers now enabling the capability.  While we are currently trialling NFC via mobile using the native phone capabilities, there is still some way to go before this can become more ubiquitous as the non-inclusion of NFC in the iPhone 5 has shown.


Sainsbury: Interface design is becoming increasingly important in banking applications. What goals do you set your team with regard to Westpac app interfaces?


Wendt: This is the primary goal for my team.  We are focused on providing great experiences and solutions which make it easier for our customers to bank with us.


Sainsbury: How do you see online channels changing the way customers interact with their banks in the next 2-3 years?


Wendt: Mobile and online will continue to grow as major interaction channel for our customers covering all forms of service and sales. Branches will continue to play an important role with an increased focus on providing customers with advice.


Sainsbury: What value do you see the partnership with Australia Post for the Digital MailBox bringing customers


Wendt: We are interested in exploring opportunities that provide our customers with choice in how the engage with us.  The Digital Mailbox provides another option for customers to move away from paper to more efficient digital delivery.


Sainsbury: Which technology leaders inspire you, and why?


Wendt: It is hard to go past Steve Jobs, but I’m also inspired by some home grown leaders like John O’Sullivan of the CSIRO for his ground breaking work for wireless technology.


Sainsbury: How do you encourage innovative thinking within your team?


Wendt: I try and encourage the team to focus on solving issues that are important for our customers and staying focused on the end customer outcomes. 


Sainsbury: Every leader, particularly at your level, has a legacy they wish to be remembered for. What is yours


Wendt: We built a better bank.


Related links:


An Interview with Peter Fletcher, Chief Information Officer, Westpac, New Zealand


Westpac launches new tablet app