National Australia Bank CEO Cameron Clyne said today that the bank's Next Generation core banking project was running on course, but declined to give any details of its progress.
"The NextGen project is on time, on budget," he said today at the media briefing following the bank's annual results presentation for the year to 30 September. The bank outlined intentions last year to replace its core banking systems in a partnership with Oracle.
Clyne said that he personally was heading up the project, steering the steering committee, and that he was happy with how it was going. "I'm very pleased with how our technology is performing," he said.
He wouldn't specify how much the bank now believed it would cost. NAB had indicated when it announced the project last year that it could cost the bank in the vicinity of $1 billion.
Since the project's start, NAB has only publicly earmarked a $30 million spend to work on the bank's new online venture Star Direct, of which the first brand was UBank, a branchless term deposit service operated entirely online and over the telephone.
It was that project which Clyne used when asked about what the bank had already achieved.
"[UBank's] a fairly substantial initiative," he said. "It's a distinct brand out there that's getting quite a lot of traction. The underlying technologies are completely supported by NextGen. So I think it's a very tangible example of delivery of the project."
Clyne would not detail milestones which the bank wanted to tackle now that it had finished UBank, saying only "there are many steps to go".
Yet he indicated that there was a plan from which customers would see benefits. "We'll have a series of deliverables over the next five years each of those deliverables will add value as the first wave of implementations under UBank have done," he said. "We've structured the program over five years so that in fact there are regular milestones and points of delivery so it's not a question of waiting to the end to get something."
There had been some concern earlier in the year that the project had hit a snag when it was revealed that Ernst & Young were called in to report on its progress. Yet a spokesperson for the bank has said that was just an interim checkpoint and there were likely to be more in the multi-year project.
Today, Clyne was adamant the project was on track. "It's a replacement of core banking platforms. Hence why it will take time. But it absolutely remains on time. It absolutely remains on budget. It's a critical initiative that I'm sponsoring and we'll continue to invest in it."