ANZ mainframe bound for NZ

Move will please the Reserve Bank

ANZ Bank is planning to relocate its mainframe processing for New Zealand from Melbourne to Wellington.

It’s understood the bank will utilise processing capacity on the mainframe of the National Bank, with which ANZ is merging. Banking industry sources say the mainframe will have to grow to handle three times the processing National Bank currently does.

A decision had earlier been announced that the National Bank would move off Systematics to Hogan, which ANZ Bank uses in Australia.

ANZ took its mainframe processing to Australia in 1997.

The bank won’t comment specifically on its plans but it seems they are a direct result of Reserve Bank requirements that the trading banks must have unambiguous access to the technical and management capacity necessary to stay in business if any of its major outsourced service providers — or an overseas owner — fails to deliver.

In a media statement released last week with ANZ’s annual results, the bank says: “We are confident integration and systems transfer to New Zealand to meet regulatory requirements will all be completed in 2005.”

The Reserve Bank recently showed its teeth when it prevented Westpac moving its mainframe processing to Australia. It was a clear message to the banking industry that earlier Reserve Bank statements about controls were not just words on paper.

Earlier this year, after the Reserve Bank approved the ANZ–National merger, ANZ general manager corporate affairs Cynthia Brophy said plans to meet the Reserve Bank requirements were in the process of being settled. She expected this to happen by the end of July but regular inquiries by Computerworld showed the planning was taking much longer to formulate.

In a background paper issued earlier this year, the Reserve Bank said that it expected to apply similar conditions to all major banks in due course.

“These qualities of governance and operating capacity are important if New Zealand banks are to be managed on an ongoing basis in the best interests of the New Zealand financial system. In particular, they are necessary for adequately dealing with financial stress or failure in management situations, when the directors of a bank, or a statutory manager acting in place of the directors, will need unfettered practical access to key staff and systems to manage the New Zealand bank through its difficulties,” the statement says.

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