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CBA IT overhaul gets BankWest bump

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia today said it would merge BankWest's technology platforms with its own as part of its planned $2.1 billion acquisition of the Western Australian bank.
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Written by Liam Tung, Contributor on

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia today said it would merge BankWest's technology platforms with its own as part of its planned $2.1 billion acquisition of the Western Australian bank.

"The BankWest integration will be aligned with and incorporated into our overall CBM [core banking modernisation] program," a CBA spokesperson told ZDNet.com.au. "We expect substantial system synergies upon alignment."

CBA listed streamlined support functions and a merged technology platform with its $580 million core banking replacement project as among the synergies to result from the deal, announced this morning.

The bank estimated the cost of integrating BankWest, including technology, transition and restructuring, at $330 million, with $220 million a year to eventually be shaved off its annual costs, including technology spending.

The 2007 financial year saw CBA spending $826 million on technology, which was around 12 per cent of its $7 billion operational costs.

The bank has not stated whether IT staff will be affected by the merger; however, it did outline BankWest's higher operation costs compared to its own.

The spokesperson said while it was too early to go into details of the IT integration, the bank expected the overall operating model to be developed over the coming months. They did not directly address a question about changes in IT staff headcount.

The merger will more than double the number of ATMs CBA has in Western Australia, with BankWest adding around 360 ATMs to CBA's existing network of 275 in Western Australia. An extra 5,000 staff will come with the acquisition, along with 148 retail branches and 28 business banking centres.

The future of the joint venture between Unisys and BankWest Unysis West could also be affected by the acquisition. The two companies had already been considering shutting the joint venture down, with BankWest planning to take its IT services back in-house.

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