CommBank ads to pimp core banking overhaul


blog The topic of core banking systems overhaul at Australia’s top banks is a constant subject of discussion in Australia’s enterprise IT sector. Michael Harte said this, Bob McKinnon did that, Suncorp might take the plunge, what’s ANZ doing — it’s a constant running dialogue which won’t end until it’s clear precisely where and how the major banks will spend the billions of dollars involved in the process.

However, so far the discussion has been confined mainly within the industry itself. If you mentioned the words “core banking modernisation” to the average Joe on the street, they’d probably think you were talking about new branch fit-outs, complete with ritzy chairs, tables and new carpet.

Until now.

Word on the street is CommBank is about to take its much-heralded, $730 million core banking modernisation project on the road, with a series of advertisements planned to go to air late on Boxing Day to inform the public about how the core overhaul will affect them, with buzzwords like “real-time banking” and a winsome lass toting an iPhone 4 to boot.

With National Australia Bank’s core in apparent meltdown and the other banks holding off on investing in real-time banking (although some, such as St George, had already taken the plunge), it may be a good time for CommBank to capitalise on its first mover advantage in the space with some free PR. We do wonder, however, whether the general public cares … sure, money may shift around a bit faster between transaction accounts with the new systems in place; but is it that big a deal?

Only time will tell. But one thing’s for sure: CBA tech czar Michael Harte — pictured — will be glowing with pleasure when he sees his multi-million-dollar baby hit the small screen :)

Image credit: Commonwealth Bank of Australia


  1. As a CBA customer, I have been pleasantly surprised over the NetBank upgrades (which is where mere mortals experience “core banking modernisation”). Sure the mobile site is exceptionally designed, but real-time banking is actually really useful for knowing exactly what state your credit card is in. This compares to 2008 when I once had to call customer service to find it out because credit card functions were broken and my transactions were being denied (the former should have been a sign that it wasn’t just me but it was good to be reassured).
    Let’s hope it continues with some more features familiar to US banking customers like virtual accounts for spending goals and temporary credit card numbers for use on dodgy websites.

  2. Whats the point of real time banking if not all banks are “real time” i.e. If i bank with ANZ, deposit money into my CBA accounts – i dont see it till the next day…
    Still not convinced this can be deemed as “real time”

    • Hi ‘a’. Inter-bank banking is done by the big banks, through their RBA Exchange Settlement Accounts and the RBA RITS (RBA Information & Transfer System). Until RITS is real time and each bank processes payments in real time from RITS to customer accounts, inter-bank payments won’t be real time. Even RTGS payments are only batched hourly at the moment. I also don’t think Commonweath can control what happens in ANZ. Intra-CBA banking can be real time though.

      I think it’s a good step forward though. At least you know the inside of CBA is operating real time. I do hope that CommSec’s platform moves to real time banking, and the overnight batching is replaced with real-time payments.

  3. When you are with a non-bank, like me with a credit union.

    Transfers take multiple, working days.

    We could only dream of hourly transfers :-)

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