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“Banks don’t normally do that”: Macquarie Bank’s new fintech approach

macquarie bank sydney

The global financial services group is adopting an "agile mindset" to develop its new transaction account.

In order to test and launch its new product, Macquarie Bank has adopted the strategies of a fintech startup. Speaking on a panel last night at Macquarie Bank's Martin Place office, Steve Wilson, the bank's head of mobile, says the launch of the retail transaction bank service is part of its aim to emulate a fintech.

"We like to think of ourselves, particularly in the retail banking arm, as a fintech."

For the first time, the bank is launching a transaction account, which is in line with its goal of creating the "bank of the future". The account comes with features such as "search how you speak", which allows people to more easily search and find transactions, and budgeting tools.

Wilson said the bank had recently moved to an enterprise agile model that allows it to be more nimble and develop a better product.

"In a fintech, you might have a dozen people, or a hundred people if it's getting large. We've got several thousand people, so what we've done is tried to scale up the same agile decision-making frameworks in that model."

Macquarie has scaled its "agility mindset" by leaving the product decisions to the teams responsible for them.

The transaction account is currently in beta phase, with those who sign up encouraged to send feedback. As the event's host Glen Frost, founder of Fintech Sydney, pointed out, "a traditional bank does not normally do that."

Wilson said it was important they were speaking individually to people. "It’s easy with a big bank to think you’re a faceless number."

He said himself and other team members read all feedback that is being submitted, whether it be through email or social media, and have managed to apply some of the feedback they've received.

"We don't want to be the big bank that sits back and says 'that's what you get.'"

The feedback is expected to continue beyond beta phase, with Wilson believing it to be a part of the process.

"We want to make this a partnership and move forward together...I think it's an ongoing process of collaboration."

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