ASB is planning a number of e-banking services using mobile phones and other handheld devices, including the ability to top up a mobile phone card from an ATM machine.
New IT chief Clayton Wakefield says the new service, already announced by rival WestpacTrust, will be up and running by year-end. Such moves “show the convergence of telecomms and banking”.
"We are right in the middle of the front-end switch. We will put in place a non-proprietary, open architecture to allow us to get products to the marketplace,” says Wakefield. The architecture should be in place over the winter to give customers “anywhere access anytime” to ASB services.
A review of the bank’s 18-month-old e-commerce strategy is also underway, focusing on Fastnet. ASB is upgrading Fastnet as the bank finds systems are “straining” at peak times from too many customers. “People can still use the service but it has been known to be slow. That’s behind us now,” he says.
A Fastnet Enterprise service will be launched shortly for “high complexity business users”, adding to the Fastnet Classic and Office services for personal and business users. “We will be combining these products with our front office systems so they get an integrated view across products and channels. For example, you may wish to bank by phone, internet or by ATM. That should be transparent across the channels,” he says.
Recently, ASB announced closer links between BankDirect and ASB, sharing development work, integrating technology, redeploying staff and combining back office functions. It should give “customers greater flexibility across the services”, says Wakefield.
Other ASB projects include standardising desktops across the company, including at bank branches, by year's end and launching a new website containing “more appropriate navigation technology".