Commbank promises more tech innovation

With its core banking modernisation program complete, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia will now focus on further IT-enabled innovations for its customers.
Written by Tim Lohman, Contributor

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has signalled that it will continue rolling out new technology-enabled banking innovations, following the completion of its core banking modernisation program this year.

The six-year program, involving around 1,500 full-time staff and a migration of 12 million customers, has delivered what the bank's CEO Ian Narev claims to be the only true 24/7 core banking system among Australia's banks, and one of the few systems of its scale in the world.

"With the project now completed, we are focused on continuous innovation for the benefit of our customers," Narev said in the bank's 2013 financial report.

"We believe we are still only at the start of our long-term effort to apply world-leading technology for the benefit of our customers."

As proof of this claim, Narev pointed to the bank's real-time settlement and banking, mobile banking app Kaching — which has handled more than AU$9 billion in transaction to date — and its point-of-sale platform Pi, and devices Albert and Leo.

In addition, the bank also launched its SmartSign service in 2013, which allows customers to execute loan documents electronically using a secure online portal, and its MyWealth portal for self-directed investors.

It also rolled out video conferencing to its branches, as part of its Branch of the Future program, allowing customers, particularly those in rural and regional areas, to better connect with the bank's specialists.

On top of finalising its core banking modernisation project, the bank also recorded an uptick in its IT operating expenses during the 2013 financial year.

Technology-related operating expenses increased by 12 percent to AU$1.29 billion, costs that the bank attributed to satisfying regulatory obligations, software amortisation, and system enhancements.

The CommBank group's IT costs for the 2013 year include: AU$439 million for applications, AU$236 million for data processing, AU$100 million for desktops, AU$202 million for communications, AU$245 million for software amortisation, and AU$77 million for IT equipment depreciation.

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