The Bank We’re Building: Antonia Watson

Antonia Watson

ANZ Group Executive and CEO New Zealand Antonia Watson

The Bank We’re Building brings together the things that collectively define ANZ – our purpose, our strategy and our culture. Over the past five years, we’ve made great strides, simplifying the bank and helping customers take advantage of opportunities as well as supporting them through challenges.


In this new series, hear directly from ANZ’s Executive Leadership team their thoughts on building culture, living our purpose and building a better bank for the future.


You can browse the full series here.


When I think about the bank we’re building, I like to start by thinking about who are the customers we're interested in and what do we want to be doing for them? That could be from providing a KiwiSaver fund to help them with their savings journey - because in New Zealand you can withdraw that for your deposit for your first home. It could be from how they set up a regular savings habits through to taking them through the actual home buyer journey and making sure that we've been such a good bank to them over the course of the savings program that they don't even think about going anywhere else. And for every subsequent purchase of properties. Then we've got an amazing business franchise from the very, very small businesses right through to the biggest institutional customers. And that's a real part of our history. It's been something that we've always been very good at and very strong at. And it’s something we do particularly well in New Zealand. We're not just focused on balance sheet or market share. We're focused on the segments we know we want to grow profitably and will value us as their banker. We also have a global network our peers can’t emulate, so we can play a really important role in that space around introductions and trade - anything around the movement of goods and capital around the region.


And this meshes very closely with the concept of purpose. If you think about our purpose of shaping a world where people and communities thrive. Helping our customers with their financial wellbeing through convenient and personalised tools - whether they're a personal customer, a business customer or the biggest institution you can think of, that is living our purpose. That's people having a better sense of financial wellbeing, people who are able to buy healthy homes, people who can run more sustainable businesses. There's a lot we can start to bring to bear for our customers from that point.


So we don't want to have the most complex business in town and where it's right to simplify, we'll keep doing it. But also, we need to acknowledge that we're at a stage where we've got a simplified set of products and more simple structures. So we've now got the opportunity to really grow from there because we're not distracted with this complexity and low-returning businesses.


So the bank we're building is effectively a line in the sand between all the work we've done to get ourselves in a more simple place with a really strong, focused strategy. We know exactly where we want to play. Now we've got the ability to build towards the future vision of a bank for homeowners, business owners and trade and capital flows. That's based on propositions, using our data really well to personalise them, and making sure we've got the right partnerships to help people on their home buyer journey or their journey to business ownership or growing their business. Likewise with trade and capital flows around the region. We’re in a position now to put the pedal down and use the advantages we've created by all the hard work we've done over the last five or six years to set ourselves on a new growth trajectory.


And then finally, our cultural behaviours are a way of bringing together everything to ask ourselves, “what do we need our people to do to be able to create this bank we're building”. And that's the idea of “create, succeed, together”. I was talking to a staff member recently who asked, "What do I need to concentrate on to succeed in my role?" I think you can’t do any better than to look at those behaviours and know this is what we need from our people in order to create this future bank we're building.


Antonia Watson is Group Executive and CEO of New Zealand at ANZ


Find conversations with ANZ’s Executive Committee on the Bank We’re Building series page


more from this series:

The Bank We’re Building: executive perspectives

In this new series, hear directly from ANZ’s Executive Committee their thoughts on building culture, living our purpose and building a better bank for the future.

The Bank We’re Building: Kathryn van der Merwe

ANZ Group Executive Talent & Culture and Service Centres says a focus on “create, deliver, together” simplifies expectations for all of our people.