St George to launch text alerts; switches to E*Trade online dealing system

St George to launch text alerts; switches to E*Trade online dealing system

Australia's St George Bank is introducing an e-mail and SMS text alert service that will warn customers that their accounts are about to become overdrawn.

According to press reports, the bank is offering the service to enable customers to top up their accounts if they are about to become overdrawn and avoid penalties for bounced cheques and bad payments.

Many of the top banks in Australia charge as much as A$50 for bounced payments. St George charges a $45 penalty for dishonoured payments.

John Lobenstein, chief information officer, St George Bank, told reporters that pricing for the mobile service had not been decided, but it is rumoured that it could be as high as A$35 a message.

The service will be tested by customers of the bank's South Australia subsidiary, Bank SA, in August.

In a separate move, St George has signed an outsourcing agreement with E*Trade for the provision of online stockbroking services for its directshares customers.

This agreement replaces an existing deal between St George and HSBC Stockbroking, which is due to expire in March 2007. HSBC sold its Australian online stockbroking business to E*Trade in June this year.

Under the deal E*Trade will provide services to the bank under a white label arrangement.

Brett Spork, CEO, E*Trade, says directshares customers will be migrated to the E*Trade platform.

"We have recently completed a significant 12 month technology platform upgrade that gives E*Trade, St George directshares and our wholesale customers access to the most superior products and services available in the Australian online broking market today," adds Spork.

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