CBA tech costs drop under simplification targets

CBA’s IT expenses dropped five percent over the past six months as a result of simplification measures and lower remuneration costs.

The bank said the reduced spend was partly offset by a rise in IT infrastructure and maintenance costs, which included rising cloud computing and storage volumes and software licence costs.

Total investment spend over the past six months reached close to the billion dollar mark, coming in at $945 million — a 10 percent rise from the same time last year.

CBA chief financial officer Alan Docherty told iTnews that within the technology expenses, “a couple of cycles are at play” resulting in the decrease.

“For one, we’ve been enforcing a lot of capability within our technology team over the course of the last six to 12 months,’ Docherty said.

Docherty added CBA’s commitment to building capabilities both domestically and in India “displaced some of the more expensive external procurement that we do from a technology perspective.”

“We certainly see that as an ongoing capability. We want to continue to offer engineers really exciting careers at CBA,” Docherty said.

“There’s a lot of very interesting new products, services, digital experiences that we’re offering our customers and that ongoing capability build we seek to continue, but we’re really pleased with the capability build and the reduction of overall technology costs,” Docherty said.

CBA’s investment growth and plans

During an analyst call, CBA chief executive Matt Comyn listed numerous investments made as part of the bank’s strategy “to set a more ambitious agenda to build tomorrow’s bank today.”

Over the half, the bank – alongside its innovation arm X15 Ventures – invested in a range of fintechs, including deal finder app Cheddar and artificial intelligence company

“We’re [also] pleased with early progress of StepPay,” he said.

“Our interest free buy now, pay later card has more than 150,000 customers in its first four months since launch, and has now processed 2 million transactions.”

Comyn added point-of-sale fintech Doshii “doubled its customer base, facilitated over 170 million orders, and almost trebled its venue coverage to 70 percent of the market.”

Comyn said that artificial intelligence “is a key area of focus for us” and that the bank is continuing to push AI use to drive “higher engagement and better customer outcomes in our app” and other areas across the bank.

Comyn also highlighted the bank’s foray into cryptocurrencies through Gemini and Chainalysis and its “exclusive partnerships” with :Different and OwnHome via its innovation arm X15 Ventures. 

“We’re continuing to use technology to build deeper trust relationships,” he said.

“We’re integrating more and more services into the CommBank app including shopping services and investing products, so that the app sits at the trusted centre of our customers’ financial lives.”

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