After setting itself a massive IT agenda last week, Westpac's chief information officer Bob McKinnon has defended the bank's decision to delay its move onto the more modern Hogan core banking platform.
"I struggle with the fascination people have with core transactional banking platforms in Australia," McKinnon told journalists today.
"It's not a burning issue and I'm not trying to downplay its importance. Would we be better off when everyone's on Hogan? Absolutely! But will we be more better off when we have a new online banking program? Will we be more better off when we're running off a common teleplatform and leveraging those processes? Would we be more better off with our call centres working off the same platform? Yes!
"Will we be more better off when we have better quality information driving our decisions around customers, around reporting, around risk management decisions across the organisation? The answer is yes."
McKinnon said that the bank would find more value in replacing and modernising elements of banking that would benefit its customers directly.
Westpac aired a set of substantial IT projects last week, centred around completing its merger with the recently acquired St George Bank and implementing new technologies and platforms to make the banking experience faster and easier for its customers.
"We will in time replace [legacy] platforms, and the driver for us there is leveraging processes, capabilities and technology in St George," he said.
"The truth of the matter is, 44 per cent of money being spent on technology by banks globally is on front-end platforms, not core banking platforms. Another 18 per cent is being spent on payment systems ... and about another 15 to 17 per cent is being spent globally on core banking platforms," he added.
Westpac has also aired plans to axe thousands of jobs from its administration and head office business units, according to a report by the Brisbane Times on Friday.
Westpac told ZDNet Australia in a statement, however, that it was too early to speculate on specifically where staff would be cut or moved within the business.
"It's a little early to speculate on specific initiatives. We're looking across the business. We'll focus on natural attrition and redeployment of staff, and wherever possible we'll look to minimise contractors across the business," the bank said.
"We're looking broadly across all areas of the bank, and we're looking to minimise any impact on permanent and full-time equivalent staff."
McKinnon also said today that over the last year Westpac had added 1200 staff to its books to work on its sizable IT agenda.