Bendigo knows best on account portability

Summary:Managing director of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, Mike Hirst, has told a Senate inquiry today the bank has its own ideas on how to tackle account number portability.

Managing director of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, Mike Hirst, has told a Senate inquiry today that the bank has its own ideas on how to tackle account number portability.

Hirst told the assembled panel of senators in Canberra today that Bendigo Bank had been working on its own prototypes to best tackle account number portability.

"We don't need account number portability to [increase competition and easy account movement], we think there's other ways to do it," Hirst said

Hirst informed the panel of an e-conveyancing system currently in the market that helps customers looking to switch their standard mortgage products to other institutions.

"For 80 per cent of people who need a standard, everyday mortgage ... we can put [their information] into the e-conveyancing project so that if you wanted to swap from Westpac to Bendigo it's just a matter of it happening in a central register which reduces an enormous amount of cost in the industry," Hirst said.

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However, despite his suggestions, Hirst said that the bank would benefit from the boost in competition an account number portability system would bring.

"Clearly when you've got the highest customer satisfaction in the market, you would expect to be a net beneficiary of that. In fact, we know that 20 per cent of people looking to change banks would change to [Bendigo Bank], so that would be a big plus for us," he said.

Treasurer Wayne Swan announced the banking reform package to the nation on Sunday. As part of that package, Swan appointed Reserve Bank governor Bernie Fraser to conduct a feasibility study into the appropriateness of an account number portability system and a timeline for its delivery.

The account number portability system has drawn a variety of responses from the banking industry since it was announced.

National Australia Bank head Cameron Clyne urged a rethink of the proposed account portability plan, saying that the government should consider other options.

He warned the government not to underestimate the complexity of core banking systems.

Topics: Government, Government : AU

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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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