Westpac tech investments continue to improve efficiency

Technology continues to help improve Westpac's systems, with the bank showing that it has reduced customer response times and improved efficiency.
Written by Michael Lee, Contributor on

Westpac's investment in technology appear to be paying off, with the bank's interim results for 2013 indicating improvements in efficiency and productivity as a result.

The group now has 3.5 million online customers, 40 percent of which it noted also use mobile phones to conduct their transactions.

Its simplification program has led to AU$121 million in new cost savings in the past six month reporting period, including reducing the time to replace lost or stolen cards from 20 minutes via phone to 2 minutes online, reducing online applications for its BT Super offering from 10 minutes to 60 seconds, and increasing adoption of self-service banking in Bank Now branches from 3 percent to 10 percent. 

The bank also stated in its report that these efficiency gains have also allowed it maintain its Strategic Investment Priorities (SIPs) program, a "suite of major investments designed to enhance Westpac's front end and product systems, and strengthen the Group's technology infrastructure."

In the first half 2013, it had spent AU$105 million on its SIP program.

The program has already delivered the first two of six releases of its new online platform. These are aimed at focusing on infrastructure, and the connection and integration of a number of its backend services. It is currently piloting the first two releases, allowing users to better make payments, authenticate, view account summaries and transaction details, as well as change passwords online.

Its customer-facing application also received further enhancements during this period, replacing previously manually-intense applications with electronic forms and workflow to bring customer requests from between 5 and 7 days down to 2 days.

A lesser seen, but necessary improvement to its systems also came in the form of the final migration of its St. George Disaster Recovery datacentre and Westpac Disaster Recovery mainframe to the Western Sydney datacentre.

The bank's cash earnings were AU$3.525 billion for the six-month period ending March 31, 2013, and were up 10 percent compared to the same period the previous year.

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