The financial services industry has been so focused on the present in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic: implementing strategies to protect current business operations and ensuring solutions are developed to customer challenges and needs never-before-seen.
But Sean O’Malley, Group Executive at AMP Bank, is ready to get back to talking about the future – a future where digital paves the way, is customer-centric, and technology transformation sends shockwaves through the industry. In the lead-up to his appearance at FST Media’s Future of Financial Services, Sydney 2022 event, we spoke to the AMP lead on the innovation in the lending space, the digitisation journey of the bank and how its future growth strategy is on track to transform.
FST Media: The pathway to digital in the financial services sector has accelerated massively as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic’s pivot to online.
As the world continues to shift to a post-pandemic period, how has AMP Bank navigated the industry-wide pivot and how has its growth strategy been modified as a result?
O’Malley: The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the transition to digital for many organisations, including AMP. Today, we’re seeing an increased number and variety of banking products and services being offered in market digitally, which is becoming the preferred way for many customers.
At AMP Bank, we’re thinking of course about what customers need now, but beyond that, we’re thinking what customers will need in the future. This includes the way that people interact with businesses, and the future relationship between the customer and their bank. Digitisation takes broad business reform, but I believe customer experience is front and centre.
Our growth strategy is customer and digital-focused, and this hasn’t changed. AMP Bank’s strategic objectives are focused on enhancing digital experiences for customers. We recently launched our digital mortgage, which is a key enabler of AMP Bank’s growth agenda.
With the growth of digital capability, banking interactions will become quicker easier and more customer-driven.
FST Media: With the launch of AMP’s new digital home loan, digital technology and transformation is obviously at the crux of Bank’s operations model.
How does the new digital solution do lending differently and what contributions do you see it making in the market?
O’Malley: As a digital bank, ongoing technology investments and transformation is a key part of our strategy. We’ve made a commitment to enhance digitisation across the Bank. That includes the products we offer, the way we service customers, and the way we work as a team.
Launching a digital mortgage has been a significant step forward to deliver better outcomes for our customers.
We know that buying a home is a fast-paced and emotional process. For new buyers, it might feel overly complicated. For refinancers, there are never enough hours in the day, juggling kids and work for example, which is why we’re shortening ‘time to yes’ to meet life’s modern challenges.
In launching a digital mortgage, we’ve put the customer at the centre, not internal processes.
Similarly for brokers, where parts of the application can be digitised and don’t require one of our people to be sitting between the customer and their approval, we’ve found ways to automate the process. Investing in digital, data and automation is key to our strategy to reduce ‘time to yes’ and enhance broker experience.
Recent examples of our enhancements for brokers and advisers include the implementation of NextGen’s verification identity (VOI) capability, ‘NextGenID’, and the ‘Broker-Ordered Valuations’ service which further streamline the home loan origination process. We’re continuing to focus on enhancing self-service capabilities, improving efficiency, reducing manual verification, and further automation of the decisioning process in the coming months.
By driving digitisation and automation, we’re able to better support brokers and improve the lending experience for customers too.
FST Media: You may have noticed that several Australian neobanks, armed with the quest to kickstart the digital banking revolution, have now closed or collapsed in recent months.
How do you think the more traditional banking powerhouses are picking up the pieces and continuing the digital legacy?
O’Malley: Recent changes in the neobank and FinTech space illustrate the competitive nature of the banking landscape, and that it is challenging to start a bank from scratch. It also demonstrates that technology alone isn’t enough a build a sustainable, scalable bank. Especially in the current environment where capital costs have markedly increased.
I do think that FinTechs and mid-tier banks are having a positive impact and they will continue to have a place in the market, which is a good thing for competition and for customers.
A key part of our strategy in AMP Bank is partnering with FinTech and innovators to disrupt and grow AMP Bank’s market share.
FST Media: How is AMP Bank planning on continuing this momentum in digital transformation for the organisation? What’s next in their technologically-driven enhancements of services for customers?
O’Malley: We passionately believe digitisation is the way of the future and we’re committed to ongoing investment in digital technology. We’re investing in digital, data and automation to reduce ‘time to yes’ and further enhance broker and customer experience. AMP Bank’s strategic objectives include improve self-serve capability and increasingly digitise and automate the lending experience across our channels.
Watch this space.
FST Media: We’ll be seeing you soon at FST’s flagship Future of Financial Services, Sydney conference, talking about AMP as a technology-enabled digital bank. What are you most looking forward to discussing with your industry peers?
O’Malley: Our industry faces a similar set of challenges around how we deliver for the modern customer, and the customer of the future. I’m looking forward to discussing this with my banking peers. I’m keen to learn about the directions that the industry is going in and contemplating for the future. I’m sure that will be a recurrent theme in the discussion.
I’m excited to be talking about the future again. For the last few years, we’ve been having conversations about the present and the broader challenges that have been facing us as an industry and society. As we recover from the pandemic, these opportunities to meet and share perspectives are invaluable as we refocus our energies on where we’re trying to go and how we’re going to get there.
I think it’s an exciting time to be in banking, and the opportunities that digital brings to better support customers.