AMP readies for open banking

  • By Christine St Anne

AMP Bank will be overhauling its core product capabilities and beefing up its team in the area of data and analytics as it prepares for initiatives such as open banking.

“We are operating on legacy systems. In order to ready ourselves for the future in banking, we needed to overhaul our core banking.

“This will also allow us to be prepared for open banking when it is rolled out in 18 months’ time,” AMP head of innovation and change Ryan Gonsalves said.

The bank has appointed Kathryn Francis to the role as Bank Head of Data, Reporting and Analytics. Francis has worked for the big banks both in the UK and Australia.

However, Gonsalves added that the strategy and hires are also on the back of the broader strategy and not specifically round the open banking initiative.

The bank will be looking at a core banking platform to integrate seamlessly with APIs that will underpin the open banking architecture.

The core banking framework will be cloud-based and provide the bank with a platform ready to interface with different applications and partners.

The bank is also building on its existing personal and advice driven financial aggregation capability, through its current online customer portal MyAMP.

“The MyAMP portal provides our customers a single aggregated view of their wealth including domestic and foreign financial relationships.

"Open banking, however, allows potentially even greater wealth and banking data to be open and perhaps more importantly analysed across all different institutions.  

“Our challenge will be how to help our customers better manage services that seem so painful today, such as account switching.”

Future trends

The bank is also looking at customer behaviour data from RFi Group research to help it further “tailor its services and products that suit our customer needs.”

While some of the big banks have recently partnered with fintechs in response to open banking, Gonsalves said the strategy at AMP at the moment is about improving its existing data and information management capability, however, there is a clear recognition that partnerships will be key in the future.

As one of the global product heads in the HSBC’s group retail banking & wealth management - before he took on the role with AMP – Gonsalves developed an insight into how the open banking was taking shape in Europe and hopes to bring those experiences to AMP.

“The key objectives for AMP is to significantly grow and innovate from our Goals 360 programme.  This is transforming the way advice is provided and as we bring this into our retail proposition it will provide a step-change in the way we engage with customers across all customer channels.”

He is excited about the potential open banking can bring in payments but for AMP the focus will be a little more specific.

“At AMP Bank we continue to focus on creating compelling solutions to help customers achieve their goals in cash flow and debt management.

“We believe gaining a deeper understanding of customer financial behavior, through a combination of open banking and investing in our data and analytics capabilities, will provide us with a platform to develop even smarter and more suitable solutions,” he said.

He also sees trust as being a key issue, a theme currently playing out globally. “While AMP is a small bank, we respect that our 168-year heritage and strong, iconic brand plays an influential role in how we build and maintain trust with our customers.  Not all non-major banks have this advantage."

Gonsalves also spoke about broader industry trends. He believes there will still be a role for advice when it comes to assisting consumers achieve their goals but it will take the form of a hybrid model – that is a mix of artificial intelligence and human interaction.

He also sees an opportunity for social sites such as WhatsApp and Facebook to reshape banking.

“The level of trust my goddaughter has with Snapchat and Facebook is incredible. She’s under 20 and may not be savvy in banking finances, but she is certainly a digital-native. “Given the amount of data and trust garnered from these relationships, I wouldn’t be surprised that soon we will really see these social sites offering to help or simply taking a much greater role in helping consumers with the financial choices.”