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Wednesday, 30 September 2009 12:54

CBA's core revamp promises product perks

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The Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s revamped core banking platform will allow it to develop new products in days rather than months, giving it a competitive edge over key banking rivals according to chief executive Ralph Norris.  

Speaking at a Trans-Tasman Business Circle lunch in Sydney today, Norris, who has been in the job for four years and one week, said products were already running live on the new core system. Led by group executive and chief information officer, Michael Harte, the transformation project has been running for a little over a year according to Norris who said that it was running in tandem with the bank’s legacy network.

Norris said that the bank’s objective was to deliver greater efficiency across the group and improve its competitive position through innovative processes and systems.

“From an efficiency perspective we have brought together operations and technology functions into a single unit to deliver responsibility, reliability and relationship management. As a result we are seeing significant improvements in systems stability, resilience and a further strengthening of our security controls and disaster recovery capabilities.

“From a processing perspective our group-wide process excellence programme is delivering significant improvements in productivity. A great example is in our home loan area where we can now approve a home loan in less than an hour compared to two to three weeks just two years ago. We have improved overall mortgage processing productivity by over 100 per cent.

“Our core banking modernisation programme is another critical way for us to improve our operations proving a point of differentiation for our customers. Core banking will now give us the ability to deliver real time banking from an end to end systems perspective allowing us to develop a market leading, customer driven service at a lower cost. These new systems will also enable us to put some distance between us and our competitors in terms of new products because our speed to market capability will be measured in days not months.

“We are just over a year into that project and I’m pleased to say we already have products up and running, live on the new system alongside our existing system. By leading the way with our technology improvements our customers will experience anytime, anywhere, real time banking services.”

Event sponsor SAP, which is also CBA’s technology partner for the modernisation programme, fielded Robert Wilson, the director of strategic engagements for SAP financial services in Asia Pacific, to introduce Norris at the lunchtime event.

Wilson, with perhaps a whiff of hubris, stated “I firmly believe this has put CBA into a frontline position in this market. Strategically their position now is very dominant,” adding “The transformation that they are undergoing will fundamentally change the face of banking.”

Wilson also said that under Norris’s leadership the information systems and procedures that were being put in place would deliver more clarity to the bank about its operations. With the bank still squirming in the spotlight over the lack of clarity senior CBA executives had regarding some of its managers’ activities with regard to the Storm Financial debacle, any promise of additional information clarity will no doubt be warmly welcomed.

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