Westpac customers still waiting for mobile banking upgrade

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Westpac customers still waiting for mobile banking upgrade

More job cuts flagged.

Westpac customers will not see the benefit of a new online and mobile banking platform until as late as 2014, despite the bank signing on for the underpinning software more than two years ago.

The bank today said it had completed more than two-thirds of its $2 billion IT investment program, after posting a full-year net profit of $5.97 billion.

It is three years into its "strategic investment priorities" program that will deliver technology to boost employee productivity and better serve customers.

However the bank's online and mobile banking platform is not scheduled for release to customers until late 2013 or early 2014, according to an investor information pack released today.

The online and mobile platform is to be underpinned by Fiserv technology under a deal signed in July 2010.

The move to improve its IT infrastructure has already seen Westpac shed more than 500 jobs, many in backoffice processing, with some sent offshore.

Westpac chief Gail Kelly today said more cuts could be expected.

"I would expect our overall number of staff to be reduced, but not at the rate we have seen over the past few years," Kelly told analysts.

During the year Westpac completed the $80 million rollout of the Spider call centre and teller platform, which was already in use at St George.

It also combined the Westpac and St George payments infrastructure under one platform, and moved into Fujitsu's new Western Sydney data centre.

But the delay to the roll out of the bank's new online platform is likely to be felt by some customers, particularly as mobile banking continues to grow rapidly.

Westpac and St George received a total of 17.1 million mobile logins during the year, compared with 9.2 million in the previous year.

Growth has been stronger at the more mobile-focused St George with mobile logins jumping from 2 million in 2011 to 4.6 million in 2012.

Spending on the bank's IT infrastructure program during the year took up 32 percent of the bank's investment costs during the year, down from 46 percent in 2011.

Westpac has been seeking to stabilise investment expenses, including on its IT program.

In April the bank mothballed a proposed $52 million project with IBM that would have seen staff receive a single messaging and collaboration system.

Kelly today said the bank would continue to find cost efficiency benefits, but added that it would continue to invest, despite its aim to protect its industry competitive cost-to-income ratio of 41 percent.

"We're very concerned about top line growth, so it's not all about cost," Kelly said.

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