An Interview with Tina MacLean, GM Information and Insights, ANZ NZ


“Consumers can be very unforgiving, venting their frustration across social media channels when outages or disruption occurs. Banks, therefore, need to reduce the complexity of the core banking system and allow for the fast adoption and implementation of new technologies and services.”

FST Media: What are your business and digital priorities?

MacLean: In my role, I’m really focused on how we use our customer insights across all our banking channels – whether that’s online, in the branch, or contact centre. This means working across the analytics value chain; the ability to create an insight, deploy the insight and deliver a timely and relevant interaction. Building insights into our operational processes is also a key focus as this will ensure we can scale as we understand the value that the insights create for our customers.

FST Media: What challenges do banks face in developing resilience technology?

MacLean: The challenge lies in consistently delivering to customers’ expectation that banks will service their needs 24/7. Service is ubiquitous in the eyes of the consumer, so it doesn’t matter if you are a bank or Google, getting it right is critical.

As we all know, consumers can be very unforgiving, venting their frustration across social media channels when outages or disruption occurs. Banks, therefore, need to reduce the complexity of the core banking system and allow for the fast adoption and implementation of new technologies and services. The merger of National Bank with ANZ in 2012 was a springboard to deliver this disciplined evolution for ANZ. We are now able to reap the benefit of this investment and deliver continuous improvements in both the customer and banker experience. This is probably more a question for Craig Bunyan, ANZ CTO, however.

FST Media: Where do you believe traditional banking will be in five years?

MacLean: For me, banks will need to become much more authentic in their relationship with customers. Post GFC, banks have been trying to realign themselves around customers, but as yet my view is that not many have managed to achieve this. Bankers will tend to look at the world through a bank’s lens and assume the world as it is today will be the same tomorrow. 

The reality is that the world around banks has moved quicker than we have. Subsequently, we have learnt to react well to the pressure of disrupters eating at the revenue streams.  We focus on meeting the Regulator’s needs and adopting digital first. But we don’t always start our thinking from a radically different paradigm and therefore we don’t step far enough outside the comfort zone to really anticipate what a new world banking system might look like. The next five years will see a fundamental shift in how traditional banks think about themselves and their role in the consumers’ financial network.

FST Media: What are the key challenges ANZ faces in the current competitive market place?

MacLean: Remaining competitive and on top is always going to be the goal of any market leader. As consumers continue to move between digital and physical channels, we need to ensure that we are utilising our coverage and bankers’ expertise as a means to deliver service and grow our customer relationships.

FST Media: What advantages will banks maintain over fintech disrupters moving forward?

MacLean: I like to think of the relationship between fintech and banks as symbiotic. In nature, symbiotic relationships are a distinct type of interaction between species. Sometimes they are beneficial, sometimes more harmful.  However, these relationships are essential to the ecosystems and they provide a balance that can only be achieved by working together.

Banks’ scale and the history we have, in many respects, provided a great platform for us to compete alongside the new breed of operators. However, the advantage will be in how, as traditional players, we embrace fintech organisations to deliver new and relevant services to customers.

FST Media: What key traditional operations of banks remain important in the digital age?

MacLean: I think for a while yet the branch network will still be very important to customers. The role of the branch needs to continue to evolve to remain relevant. However, I don’t think customers want to see branches become just a self-serve ‘digital outlet’.  In time I think we’ll see branches become hubs of human interaction where people meet, learn, share and do business which each other. Banks can play a key role in the creation and facilitation of business through connecting consumers with businesses both physically and digitally.

FST Media: What is your definition of Innovation?

MacLean: Innovation is about new ways of thinking, as well as new ideas. It’s crucial to keep innovating and to keep moving forward, reassessing, taking a different perspective, and reinventing what you do to remain relevant. 

What are you hoping to achieve from your presentation at the FST Future of Financial Services conference?

I hope I can inspire at least one person to go back to their desk with a different perspective or idea; though I’m probably more looking forward to hearing from others and gaining a different viewpoint. 
It’s always great to take some time out of the office from doing the doing and reengage the brain through listening to others and connecting with peers.

FST Media: What is the best career advice you can give?

MacLean: Never stop learning. Open your mind and disrupt yourself. You’ll see opportunities for the taking. ⚫

Tina MacLean will be a featured speaker at the FST Media Future of Financial Services, Auckland, 19 July, 2017.