CBA's Ralph Norris says modernisation is on track

'Quantum improvements' in customer service and efficiency claimed

ASB's Australian owner Commonwealth Bank has flagged that its core modernisation project remains on schedule, with 20 million customer records now migrated to the bank’s new systems.

Speaking at the bank’s 2010 half year results presentation, CEO Ralph Norris, formerly head of Air New Zealand, said the modernisation, now half way through its four year schedule, had already resulted in a number of benefits, particularly around customer service and efficiency where “Quantum improvements” had been achieved.

Marked improvement had also occurred via the modernisation in the area of home loan applications with 59 percent of loans now conditionally approved and printed in branch within 60 minutes.

Norris said investment in the bank’s back office processing had yielded significant improvements in processing times, productivity levels and customer service rates.

“On the technology front our systems are significantly more customer friendly, have much greater functionality and are materially more reliable than they were three years ago,” Norris said. “By way of example, the number of severity one incidents has reduced from around 65 per annum to just five in the first half of this year.”

Average monthly logons to the bank’s online portal NetBank had also grown to 36.3 million in FY10 to date, compared to 18.5 million in FY07.

“Michael Harte, Dave Curran and their team are making excellent progress and have already delivered real customer capability via the implementation of three products on the new system — the first home saver account, the Colonial First State term deposit account and the online saver account,” Norris said.

Norris said the next major initiative under the core modernisation project was the migration of all the bank’s term deposit products, scheduled to occur later this month.

This would be followed later in the calendar year by all its retail term deposit and transaction accounts and its business and private banking customers. Lending products are scheduled to migrate across next year, Norris said.

“Once completed, this comprehensive overhaul of our core banking systems will see a significant reduction in the cost of doing business and more importantly will improve the way we interact with our customers,” he said.

“…Our core banking modernisation project will transform our retail and business and private baking operations. Core banking modernisation represents the next key phase in the evolution of our technology capability. Something which will deliver a clear and distinct strategic advantage over coming years.”

In September, the bank announced it was increasingly tying pay to customer satisfaction and IT performance.

Late in the CBA said it would roll out digital identities to its business customers to up their security while accessing selected online applications under a new deal with IdenTrust.

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