Banks regrouping for MAMBO successor

Summary:The big four banks behind the collapsed Me and My Bank Online (MAMBO) project are currently regrouping to figure out the next step in online payment innovations, according to the Commonwealth Bank's head of online banking.

The big four banks behind the collapsed Me and My Bank Online (MAMBO) project are currently regrouping to figure out the next step in online payment innovations, according to the Commonwealth Bank's head of online banking.

The MAMBO project was spearheaded by BPAY, which worked in collaboration with the big four banks to deliver a system that would see individuals issued with biller numbers to facilitate a single identity for online payments. The project, kicked off in 2007, suffered from ongoing delays and the eventual withdrawal of two major stakeholders, the National Australia Bank (NAB) and ANZ Bank shortly thereafter.

The project was wound down in late August, after BPAY determined that the business case was no longer viable for the project.

Drew Unsworth, general manager of Online Banking for the Commonwealth Bank, told the Irish Trade & Investment Mission breakfast this morning that banks are likely to take a "wait-and-see" stance on MAMBO-like projects, but assured attendees that there are currently "a lot of smart people" thinking up the next innovative project.

"I think a lot of people thought MAMBO was going to be the great white hope of bringing us home on [the innovation] front, but that's fallen short. I think a lot of the banks are probably sitting back in their bunkers right now, thinking 'well, what are we going to do next?'.

"Now that MAMBO's fallen over, we do have to come up with something else," Unsworth said.

The Commonwealth Bank was a key advocate for the MAMBO project right up until the day it was cancelled. The Bank told ZDNet Australia at the time that it was disappointed by the cancellation.

ANZ Bank's deputy CEO Graham Hodges said at a recent technology briefing that cost factors and a lack of collaboration between four natural rivals in the Australian financial sector were to blame. Unsworth echoed Hodges' assertions this morning, saying that co-operation is required for MAMBO-like projects to succeed.

"As far as MAMBO's concerned, I think that it's very difficult to get four large organisations to agree on something that is very much a game-changing piece of technology, and I think, in the end, there were a lot of cost pressures that came to bear, and it's something that we need all people to co-operate on — otherwise, it's not going to work," Unsworth said.

Topics: Banking, Emerging Tech

About

A fresh recruit onto the tech journalism battlefield, Luke Hopewell is eager to see some action. After a tour of duty in the belly of the Telstra beast, he is keen to report big stories on the enterprise beat. Drawing on past experience in radio, print and magazine, he plans to ask all the tough questions you want answered.

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