Today there’s a public relations war raging among the major financial institutions as each strives to be first, fastest or funkiest with technology.
At one level this is very serious. Under the post GFC governance regimes rolling out across the world, Basel III in particular, there is an expectation that those institutions which are able to demonstrate that they have robust technology and a highly granular understanding of their assets and risk profile might enjoy the benefits of being assigned lower thresholds in terms of liquidity and capital adequacy.
Meanwhile the banks also understand that there is a battle royal going on for consumers, much of that being fought at the technology interface. The threat of peer to peer financial services provided by non-financial sector organisations (including technology companies) and the rise of complementary currencies such as Bitcoin or Facebook credits is a real concern for traditional banks.
So they are all investing heavily in technology.
Commbank however is ahead in the PR stakes by a country mile, often to the very clear irritation of its rivals, particularly Westpac which has grizzled publicly about its rival getting so much airplay.
Part of Commbank’s success is that it’s been prepared to open the kimono pretty wide regarding its core systems revamp, which is now on track to conclude at the end of the year.