ANZ has once again performed well in 2006
for shareholders and we have invested and
strengthened our foundation for sustainable
growth in future years.
This performance is simply a milestone on a longer
journey from the major banks being perceived as
the same, to making ANZ "a very different bank".
It concerns me that many believe all banks are
the same. It would not be so prevalent a view if it
was not true. Changing this required us to create
- Why a customer should deal with us?
- Why the community should place its trust in us?
- Why people should invest their working lives in us?
- Why shareholders should invest in us?
So against the trend of cost-cutting, we decided to
invest to make "a very different bank" a reality. This
required a major change in emphasis where:
- People, customers and the community would become the main focus rather than costs and short-term return.
- We would build a culture and talent base that could not easily be replicated.
- We could all sleep at night with the level of risk.
In particular we recognised that the bank that comes
up with ways to serve our customers better would
win over the long run. Our progress demonstrates
our commitment to more convenient banking:
- In 2006 in Australia, we opened a new branch every
fortnight and in 2007 we will open a new branch
almost every week.
- In the last four years we added 10,000 new people,
including the acquisition of The National Bank of
We had a very different acquisition in New Zealand,
maintaining separate businesses and brands.
- With the sizeable opportunity presented by Asiaís
economic growth and the interdependence between
Australia, New Zealand and Asia, we have begun a
major push into the region, including expanding our
business in Tianjin and Shanghai in China.
- We leveraged the technology and operational
capability in Bangalore built over 17 years while
maintaining a policy of having customer contact at
home in Australia and New Zealand.
- We received special recognition through the Prime
Ministerís Award for Impact on a Community.
I am genuinely pleased with our progress, but realise
it is only the beginning. Therefore we are raising the
bar on revenue growth and accelerating our efforts to
become "a very different bank". Our achievements in
2006 demonstrate we are well positioned to do so.
All in all it has been a good year for shareholders
and I want to thank you all for your continued
confidence in us.