There is cautious optimism in the economy as markets continue to deal with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, according to ANZ CEO Shayne Elliott, who says the role of ANZ at this time is to “stand with customers”.
Speaking with ANZ Managing Director, Institutional Australia & PNG Tammy Medard on video, Elliott said the bank was committed to helping its institutional customers through the omicron wave, as it has since the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020.
“As we sit here in the beginning of , COVID’s not finished and there's still a lot to come through the economy,” he said.
“I think many are feeling a lot more optimistic about the future and that COVID may well start to recede at some point this year. But from an economic point of view, from various industries, there's still going to be a lot of change.
“And as we know, change brings risk, but it also brings opportunity and [at ANZ] our role is really to stand with customers through that.”
You can watch part one of the two-part conversation between Elliott and Medard on video below.
Elliott said much of the market has misjudged the outlook when the pandemic first hit, as government-driven stimulus seen around the world helped the economy hold up much better than expected.
“What that meant was our customers came [out of the pandemic] in much better shape [than we expected],” he said. “And it meant banks like ANZ [could] do what we're good at, which was actually support people through that.
“We knew… if we stuck with customers who we know and trust, customers with good businesses, customers with the right character, we would be okay - and we'd be able to really help them take advantage [of the recovery].”
Listening to customers
The Peter Lee Associates Large Corporate and Institutional Relationship Banking Survey is an annual leading indicator of performance across wholesale banking in Australia. The survey is something ANZ “takes very seriously,” Elliott said, as it “informs our prioritisation, our investment slate and things we think about for the future.
The 2022 Peter Lee Large Corporate Relationship and Transaction Banking survey will be going into field soon. Almost 600 Australian-based large businesses and financial institutions with significant annual turnover have been selected to share their views on the performance of domestic banks and their major international peers. Only companies that meet the criteria are selected as survey respondents.
ANZ Institutional was ranked the top bank for outright and lead-bank penetration in Australia for the sixth year in a row in 2021. The bank was also ranked number one for pandemic-related support, with 80 per cent of describing ANZ’s support as ‘excellent’ or ‘above average’.
Medard said the bank spends “a lot of time reading through the anonymous responses” from the survey, before “funding projects and improvements… based on the insights provided from our customers”.
ANZ “actively uses” Peter Lee data to invest in ways to either close the gaps the survey suggests exist between ANZ and its competitors, or to strengthen the areas the survey suggests it has an advantage, Elliott said.
“We really want to understand how we can do a better job where we are not doing a good job, or where we are missing or exceeding customer expectations,” he said.
Medard said ANZ had begun the pandemic unsure of what was ahead and concerned about what “liquidity could look like” among its customer base.
“At the same time, [ANZ agreed that as] a relationship bank, we're here to support our customers together, and stand beside them, as we navigated through such uncharted territories,” she said. “I'm really pleased we were able to support them.”
“And that that support continues.”
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