The Commonwealth Bank plans to invest $5 billion dollars over the next five years in effort to rebuild consumer trust and improve its digital capabilities. Much of that will be spent on technology, says Matt Comyn, who outlined some of the bank’s digital plans in his first major speech as CEO.

“We have to be the best digital provider in Australia bar none… We have to really benchmark ourselves against a standard which ensures that we are delivering the best digital experience in any of our customers’ lives,” Comyn said at the Trans-Tasman Business Circle in Sydney yesterday.

Following several scandals, an APRA Prudential Inquiry and revelations from the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry, CBA has had to pay back $600 million to customers over the last three years.

Comyn said it was time for a “different mindset inside the organisation” and the bank needs to rebuild customers’ trust. He said the bank will forego an estimated $415 million in annual fee revenue to do so.

The CEO reiterated CBA’s focus on customer experience and a commitment to lead the country in terms of its branch network, although he conceded branches will continue to close.

CBA Digital

Comyn said CBA will double down on the personalisation of its popular banking app which has over 5 million logins each day. In the new version, expected to launch in two or three months according to Comyn, users will have more customisation options and will see the most relevant content first when they log in.

Delivering that capability at scale is possible because of emerging digital technology, Comyn said. The bank uses a machine learning powered central platform, called a customer engagement engine, to identify the next best action.

“We are able to now analyse 157 billion data points in real time,” Comyn said. “We do that across 200 advanced machine learning models. And we serve up in real time, and over the context of the next 12 months, three billion personalised messages inside the mobile banking app.”

Commonwealth Bank CEO Matt Comyn speaking in Sydney this week. Supplied.

The technology also helps CBA alert customers when they are overdrawn or entitled to benefits. The bank issues around half a million alerts each week for overdrawn accounts and has 270 initiatives planned for linking customers to benefits like an unclaimed CTP green slip.

Comyn said he expects the initiatives will save customers more than $200 million over the next 12 months.

Technology has also drastically increased the bank’s lending capabilities, Comyn said. He mentioned CBA’s BizExpress, an automated way of approving business loans. The bank lends around $580 million every week and Comyn said he hopes to increase that with BizExpress.

“… if you have your transaction account with the Commonwealth Bank we are able to provide a decision on unsecured loans less than $250,000 in as little as 12 minutes, and secured loans up to $1 million on the same day.”

Comyn also identified fraud detection as an area where technology, although he stressed the value of an augmented environment where humans play a large role. He said the bank is investing in 24/7 fraud monitoring technology in an effort to curb the more than half a billion dollars lost to fraud and scams in Australia each year.

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