Westpac pumps cash into IT projects

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Westpac pumps cash into IT projects

Spending and new hires up.

Westpac has hired 304 more full-time equivalent IT staff to work on group projects in the first half of the 2010 financial year compared to the same period in the previous year.

The bank did not identify which projects staff were working on but ireported general increases in IT spending in the first half of 2010 [PDF].

The group's capitalised software balance was $634 million as at the end of March, up $48 million on figures from the first half of 2009 and $5 million on the second half in the same year.

Some of that increased balance included $13 million improving front end distribution systems and $48 million "upgrading and refreshing various banking and infrastructure systems".

Another $20 million was allocated to the consolidation of its enterprise payment system and operations and the automation of payments processing.

The group also wrote down $16 million for what it called "three small systems".

Purchased services spend was up $82 million in the first half of 2010 compared to the first half of 2009.

About $48 million of that was on "additional projects" in areas including internet banking, distribution systems, data centres and testing capabilities.

Westpac's Retail and Business Banking division also reported a three percent rise in operating expenses compared to the first half of 2009.

Part of this was attributed to "higher project investment to increase front-line capability, including the rollout of new telephony infrastructure across the network."

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