Tech boosts CBA's investment spend to three-year high

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Tech boosts CBA's investment spend to three-year high

$1.25 billion in FY15.

The Commonwealth Bank's investment spend in its 2015 fiscal year rose five percent to $1.25 billion thanks predominantly to the bank's ongoing focus on technology.

The investment spend was the bank's highest in three years, since the completion of its core banking overhaul in 2012. 

During its full-year results briefing today - where the bank posted a record $9.14 billion cash profit and launched a $5 billion rights issue - CBA revealed a $1.25 billion spend on technology, productivity and growth, and risk and compliance initiatives.

"Technology again features strongly in the high levels of investment that we maintained through this financial year," CEO Ian Narev said.

"Our focus remains on the use of technology to improve all our channels, and to underpin continuous process improvement to simplify our customers' experience with us. The impact of our technology focus is particularly clear in transaction banking and deposits in this result."

Of the $1.25 billion, 58 percent went to productivity and growth initiatives, 30 percent went to risk and compliance, and 12 percent was allocated to improving branches.

The productivity and growth spend enhanced CBA's product systems across retail, business and institutional, digital channels, customer data insights and sales management capabilities.

Its ongoing investment into its systems meant the bank's IT team was now making 3863 system changes a month, compared to half that five years ago, CBA reported.

Similarly, it was now only recording 41 high-impact system incidents each year compared to 153 five years ago, the bank said.

Productivity initiatives delivered savings of $260 million in the year to June 30..

CBA was forced to spend around $375 million on risk and compliance to implement systems that satisfied new regulatory obligations, it said.

The remaining $150 million of the overall investment spend went into branch initiatives such as installing video-conferencing across the majority of the branch network, and handing tablets and accompanying software to branch frontdoor staff.

During the year, the Commonwealth Bank launched a number of new technology initiatives such as its long-awaited Albert merchant tablet solution, Touch ID login for mobile banking, apps for smart watches and tablets, and real-time alerts via SMS, email and app notifications.

It also partnered with Westfield to create a special offers app that interacts with beacons installed in the retail centres in an effort to expand its digital wallet offering.

After taking several years to get Albert to market, the bank now claims it has over 3000 terminals installed in around 2500 merchants.

More to come

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