Global software giant Oracle has commenced a recruitment drive for specialists to help deliver on a contract it inked several months ago to deliver the first step of a new core banking system to the National Australia Bank.
The local office of the software giant recently advertised nine full-time positions specific to the NAB deal.
The software company is seeking three Oracle developers with skills around the Sun Solaris, IBM AIX and HP-UX operating systems, three Java developers, one Visual Basic developer and two financial services technology experts with skills and experience relating to bank clearing, settlement and reporting processes.
Oracle recruiter David Talamelli told ZDNet.com.au that the software company was fortunate to be hiring technologists in a shaky climate for financial services.
"We're feeling pretty optimistic that we'll identify people for these roles," he said. "The skill-sets should be readily available. I am not sure whether other financial services companies have been laying people off, but either way this financial services meltdown is really a good situation for us. While [other companies] are putting technology projects on hold, we have the opportunity to give people a pay cheque."
Talamelli said he would prefer technology staff with experience in the financial services industry. "It makes it that much more workable if it is somebody that understands the business behind the technology," he said.
Meanwhile, the NAB today confirmed it would press on with the investment, regardless of the onset of the global financial services crisis. The project will run for a total of five years.
NAB CIO Michelle Tredenick
"We're absolutely clear that the cost of the next-generation platform is coming from the existing capital expenditure envelope," NAB spokesperson Kerrina Lawrence said. "The current financial environment won't affect this project."
The first phase of the project will see Oracle build a platform for the delivery of new online banking services to be marketed under NAB's Star Direct business division.
Neither the bank nor Oracle was as yet able to disclose the nature of the banking services under development, but a good guide is Star Direct's first product UBank: a branch-less term deposit banking service operated entirely online and over the telephone, launched 1 October.
The NAB is interested in building a host of similar services to compete with the highly successful online efforts such as ING Direct and RaboPlus.
Lawrence said UBank was developed using the bank's existing technology platform (that is, not under the deal with Oracle). Future products, to be developed under the deal with Oracle, are still in the "planning and development" phase.