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ANZ to continue investing in technology

ANZ (ASX: ANZ), which is renowned for being the only Australian bank with an ambitious plan to compete with regional institutions throughout Asia, is pushing ahead with its technology strategy for local customers.

Speaking at a conference in Sydney Philip Chronican, the boss of ANZ Australia, said the bank would continue to deliver innovative products such as a voice recognition for its GoMoney app. In appreciation of the convenience derived from mobile services, the bank has spent more than $150 million creating mobile solutions.

Mr Chronican said the spending will continue into the near future, “We’ll continue to spend between $50 and $100 million a year for another few years.” Facing pressure from the technologically superior Commonwealth Bank (ASX: CBA), all of the big four including ANZ, NAB (ASX: NAB) and Westpac (ASX: WBC) have promised to spend big on products to keep up with demands from customers.

Last year ANZ committed $1.5 billion over 5 years to its technology program, which aims to provide a unique customer experience. “Digital will end up being about a third of that type of spend by the time we finish the program,” Mr Chronican said.

If the voice recognition system passes trials, it could be offered to customers as early as the first half of 2014, “The new GoMoney platform will go in during the course of the first half of next year. If we get comfortable with this we’ll build it into it,” Mr Chronican said.

Foolish Takeaway

Australian banks are feeling the pressure from both customers and international technology companies such as PayPal and Google to increase their spending on technology and make customer experience a key priority. So far, CBA is a long way ahead of its rivals who have instead chosen to pursue growth opportunities outside of technology.

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Motley Fool Contributor Owen Raszkiewicz does not have a financial interest in any of the mentioned companies.  

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