European banks will invest less in IT this year than in each of the preceding four years, according to research by Celent Communications, which predicts that investment in technology will hit EUR44.6 bn in 2004, five per cent less than last year.
Commenting on the research, Axel Pierron, Celent analyst and author of the report, says: "Cost reduction will again be a factor, particularly maintenance costs."
This year, the leading European bank in terms of IT spending will be HSBC with an estimated IT budget of EU3billion, followed by Deutsche Bank and UBS which both have EUR2.6 billion allocated to technology, and ABN Amro which will spend an estimated EUR2.2 billion on IT.
These four firms are members of the small club of European banks that are expected to spend more than EUR2 billion on IT in 2004.
The UK's Royal Bank of Scotland comes in fifth and will spend an estimated EUR1.6 bn on technology, followed by Credit Suisse (EUR1.44bn), ING (EUR1.41bn) and BNP Paribas (EUR1.37 bn).
Pierron says despite the reduction in IT spending, "the investment in new projects will be fairly high this year at 9.5% of the total IT budget".