Westpac to consolidate core banking platform with St George

In its 2013 financial results, Australia's oldest bank has detailed its plans to move across to the Celeriti platform in the next phase of its technology road map.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

With an investment of over AU$1.5 billion dollars since 2009, Westpac has begun to draw the curtains on its Strategic Investment Priorities (SIPs) program, and is moving onto the next phase of its technology road map that will see the company consolidate on a single core banking platform for its Westpac and St George brands.

The bank's move onto a consolidated core banking platform has long been rumoured, with the bank confirming the move in 2009 and subsequently delaying it a year later.

Westpac's new approach, released today in the bank's full-year financial results, will see Westpac and St George first share a common infrastructure access layer currently used by Westpac, before St George is moved onto the latest version of its CSC-made Hogan core bank platform, Celeriti, with Westpac joining St George on Celeriti thereafter.

Westpac's move to Celeriti (click to enlarge)
(Image: Westpac)

The core platform consolidation is scheduled to be completed in 2017. In concert with the consolidation, the bank will be focusing on improving its online and mobile offerings, aiming for lowering payment times, enhancing its customer insights and analytics, and looking at new ways of working for its employees.

Westpac's next technological phase will build on the work completed during SIPs, which the bank touted as significantly improving its core reliably.

"Virtualisation reduces the risk associated with current legacy infrastructure, while achieving lower power consumption and improvements in maintenance and flexibility," the report said.

"This has reduced average severity-1 incidents from over 30 per month in full-year 2008 to less than four per month in full-year 2013."

In its full-year report, the bank said that it had identified savings due to SIPs of AU$189 million over its lifetime, and would be rolling out a new online and mobile banking platform during the 2014 financial year, the platform is currently in pilot stage, with 4,500 customers.

The bank said its new customer online platform was built with an eye on mobile customers, and would provide a single view of family finances, email and SMS alerts, and a consistent interface across all of its platforms.

Westpac currently claims over 2 million active mobile customers that produce over AU$4 billion in transactions every month. The bank boasted that it is the only Australian bank with dedicated Windows 8 and native iPad applications.

Due to SIPs being in its final stages, the bank will no longer be breaking it out as a separate item; it is expected that Westpac will amortise SIPs in the next five to eight years.

Overall, the bank posted record cash earnings of AU$7.1 billion in the year up to the end of September, with statutory net profit climbing to AU$6.8 billion, up 14 percent since last year.

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