An interview with ME’s CIO Mark Gay


Industry super fund-owned bank ME’s Chief Information Officer speaks to FST Media about how the bank’s four-year digital transformation will help the firm meet the changing needs of its customers.

FST Media: What is the ‘holy grail’ that is yet to be delivered in financial services?

Gay: Banks have processes, customers have lives and technology companies have mastered customer experience. When was the last course you did on ‘how to use’ Facebook? Supermarkets have moved into financial services and there is only one thing stopping technology companies from doing the same – they have not earned the requisite trust from customers to manage money. However, the trust is growing and banks have a small window to crack the customer experience challenge and stay in front.

FST Media: You are delivering a keynote presentation at FST Media’s upcoming The Future of Banking & Financial Services conference in Sydney; what can delegates expect from your presentation?

Gay: I will be sharing insights on how to pull off a transformation at both a cultural and technical level in a business that has plenty of excuses not to change its technology, in terms of risk, expenses and regulation. 

FST Media: How will your four-year digital transformation help you meet the changing needs of your customers?

Gay: Our four-year digital transformation will help us meet the changing needs of our customers in five ways: it will help us deliver faster turnaround times, better prices, more sophisticated products and services, greater customer insights and better decision-making engines, as well as helping ME be more likely to be leading innovations rather than lagging behind.

FST Media: ME has now hired a General Manager for Data which fills its senior executive ranks, how are you planning to capitalise on the sources of data collected through digital and social channels?

Gay: To date, we have had a very tactical approach to data. Throughout our transformation, we’ve learned the true value of data and how underutilised it was as an asset. 

FST Media: Where do you feel data teams should sit within financial services organisations?

Gay: Our general manager of data is a true Chief Data Officer role, not just an IT one. We still believe the I in CIO stands for ‘information’ and not ‘infrastructure’, and therefore it sits within IT. We have multiple consumers of data across our organisation and IT is best suited as the custodian as it is one of the few functions that take an organisation-wide view.

FST Media: How has your partnership with Link helped you to deliver more integrated and innovative offerings for super funds?

Gay: The partnership with Link is focused on displaying funds’ member account information through ME platforms such as internet banking and our bank app. This can be seen with the example of member super balances being visible. Conceivably, we should be able to display accounts for any fund products managed by Link. The benefit of this work is that it will allow fund members that bank with ME and have their administration with Link to see their super balances through ME’s platforms, providing a single view of super and banking. This will be a drawcard for people to join a fund and ME, while helping funds better engage their members in their super by making it more visible and helping them compete with the big banks which already provide this functionality.  

FST Media: How do you define success? 

Gay: Success is better access to data and better decision-making capabilities. Building an organisation that designs customer experiences from the outside in based on a customer-view, rather than from the inside out is the mark of a successful organisation, as well as having a culture of innovation with a ‘can do’ attitude. 

FST Media: With respect to career development, what is the best advice you ever received? 

Gay: The best advice I received was: come into the office every day and behave the way you want to be remembered.

Mark Gay will be speaking at FST Media’s 10th annual Technology & Innovation – The Future of Banking & Financial Services conference in Sydney, in addition to a distinguished panel of executives across financial services from November 10-11. For more insights and information about the event, register here.