ANZ executives are still pondering the bank's commitment to BPAY's Me and My Bank Online (MAMBO) project this week, after the exit of the National Australia Bank (NAB) a fortnight ago, with deputy chief executive Graham Hodges criticising the project's ongoing delays and cost blowouts.
The MAMBO project aims to issue individuals with BPAY biller numbers to facilitate the creation of a single identity for online payments, meaning that it wouldn't matter if a customer moved banks or changed account numbers in the future.
"I think the issue is not what [the project looks to achieve], but it's about how effectively the project's been managed, is the issue that's more come to the fore, and its cost," Hodges told ZDNet Australia.
Hodges panned the ongoing management of the project during an ANZ Bank technology briefing on Friday, where the bank outlined its new technology strategy.
Hodges said that part of the problem with MAMBO was a lack of co-operation between the big four banks involved.
"We're very demanding in terms of what we expect of our business models and delivery, and I think that's part of the issue. If it were a single bank doing this, it would just be a matter of getting it in line, but where it's a federation [of banks] and we don't talk to each other very well, that's part of the issue," Hodges said.
"We expect that system, which is a federated system, will get up. I suspect the question is how much will it cost, and who's going to pay for all that, is the issue I think.
"But I think at a system level, it seems to me likely to be put in place. It's an issue of costs and when," he said.
Chief information officer (CIO) Anne Weatherston said that the MAMBO project hadn't yet got off the ground from a technology standpoint within ANZ.
"I think it's still much more of a business level, and not a technology level [issue], to be honest. I think talking to the program director from MAMBO in ANZ, basically we're just monitoring post-NAB cessation what that means across the industry, and we'll take our position from that," Weatherston said, adding that watchers are likely to see MAMBO movement within ANZ sometime this week.
NAB withdrew its support for the project just over a fortnight ago, putting its own bottom line and innovation agenda ahead of the joint forces effort towards easier online payments.
The bank said that the ongoing cost of developing MAMBO with the other big four banks would impair its ability to invest in new payment innovations.
"NAB believes that the high industry investment cost associated with participating in the MAMBO project will impact NAB's ability to invest in innovation that we believe will provide clearer and timelier customer benefits," it said at the time.
At the time of NAB's withdrawal, both the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Westpac said that they were fully committed to the project.