When it comes to being happy with our chosen financial institution, online functionality makes a critical difference.
According to CANSTAR award winner Westpac, 70 percent of all banking transactions are now being completed digitally.
This is not surprising with a Roy Morgan survey this week putting smartphone ownership at 76 percent of New Zealand adults.
"Importantly, it's not just the Millennials who are banking on the go," said CANSTAR General Manager- New Zealand, Jose George.
"A recent Canstar Blue survey of more than 2,400 New Zealanders found that while Gen Y are most likely to do a lot of their banking via mobile, Gen X and Baby Boomers are also very smartphone-savvy.
"Customers really have become accustomed to using their smartphone for everything, from checking the weather to finding a property to buy to doing their banking. And the explosion in well-designed fintech platforms and solutions means that banking customers have a higher than ever expectation of intuitive banking functionality across both desktop and mobile."
Second year in a row for Westpac
Each year CANSTAR assesses the online banking services and functionality offered by New Zealand's financial institutions, across both desktop and mobile. In 2016, for the second year in a row, Westpac has won the CANSTAR Bank of the Year – Online Banking award.
"Since the execution of the Westpac One platform across both desktop and mobile last year, Westpac has retained an innovative mindset, implementing continual features and functionality," said Mr George.
"It was evident to our Research team that Westpac has spent significant time and resources on its mobile banking capabilities, with a seamless customer experience and transition between desktop and mobile." said Mr George.
According to Westpac's Chief Digital Officer, Melissa Macfarlane, the mainstream use of the smartphone has had a huge impact on consumer behavior and customer expectations are interlinked with the mobile functionality of the day.
"Right now, your bank can be accessed from your pocket 24 hours a day, seven days a week," said Mrs Macfarlane.
"We believe (and are banking on) that demand for digital banking is moving beyond straightforward transaction and account management. Customers will expect value-added extras and tools from their bank that cover things like financial education. They will also expect us to know them and tailor our offerings in a personalised way – giving customers the ability to choose what and how they want their finances managed. “
"Banking is no longer on the banks terms, but on our customer’s terms."
According to Mrs Macfarlane, the secret to innovative success is to behave like a bank- but to think like a startup.
"The successes we’ve had are direct outcomes of Westpac’s ability to behave like a bank and not like a bank at the same time. We’re thinking and acting like a 200 year old start-up," she said.
"We operate in a highly regulated environment, so it’s imperative we have the right processes and structures in place to give our customers security. Attention to every single detail is absolutely necessary. But at the same time, we need to be agile and anticipate our customer’s needs.”
Innovation requires an agile, fast, collaborative environment where failure equally is seen as an opportunity to learn. The ability for the two cultures to co-exist within Westpac is fundamental to our success."
The 2016 CANSTAR Online Banking Award report can be downloaded here.