Commonwealth Bank to invest $580 million on IT refresh

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Commonwealth Bank to invest $580 million on IT refresh

The Commonwealth Bank plans to spend $580 million over the next four years in a major information technology refresh aimed at replacing legacy systems more than 40 years old.

The upgrade will see the Commonwealth Bank modernise its core banking systems in an effort to improve the bank’s customer service platform, infrastructure and business services, as well as provide significant operational benefits and cost savings.

A Commonwealth Bank spokesperson told iTnews, core systems that run banking platforms such as transactional banking, demand deposit, passbook and home loans will all feature in the refresh.

“It will allow things like account and loan products to be worked up and launched within hours unlike the months it currently takes and also improved back end systems and end to end processing,” said the spokesperson.

The project will also replace core banking infrastructure that has been in place since the 1960s.

"The transformation programme will see the removal of the current legacy systems that have supported the Group for over 45 years,” said Commonwealth Bank CIO, Michael Harte. “While legacy systems are inherent in all large financial institutions, few have had the courage to challenge and execute the necessary changes. Core Banking Modernisation will place us well ahead of our competitors.”

The project, which Commonwealth Bank has dubbed its Core Banking Modernisation programme, will be rolled out in four stages, with the first major upgrade expected to begin early next year. The bank was not setting timeframes on the other phases at this time.

The initial phase will see Commonwealth Bank pilot SAP's NetWeaver to enhance real-time processing capability across customer accounts. Accenture will support the implementation of the program.

Although Commonwealth Bank declined to disclose figures around any potential financial benefits, the bank expects its IT efficiency ratio to reduce from its current 14.5 percent figure to 13 percent by 2010. The bank also expects further reductions after that time.
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