St George signposts mobile-only future for smartphone users; more jobs to go at Westpac

St George signposts mobile-only future for smartphone users; more jobs to go at Westpac

St George Bank of Australia claims to have 60,000 mobile banking customers who use only their smartphone to do all their banking.

With over 12 million smartphones tipped to be in circulation within Australia by 2013, the trend for mobile-only banking is likely to continue, says the bank, which claims a total of 400,000 m-banking subscribers. The bank has seen the number of mobile logins more than double over the past year, from two million in 2011 to 4.6 million in 2012

Travis Tyler, St.George Bank's head of mobile, comments: "We're seeing an unprecedented demand from customers wanting to do as much of their banking as possible on their smartphone."

He says the bank is responding to the demand, rolling out a series of upgrades over the past year for P2P payments, opening and funding savings and current accounts, budget planning and property searches.

Dhiren Kulkarni, CIO and innovation for St.George Banking Group, says that within the next three years, the bank wants to give its customers the opportunity to do as many of the things they can do in a branch or via the centre as possible, through online.

"We were the first bank in Australia to include a Budget Planner feature as part of our mobile banking app," he says. "We were also the first bank in Australia to offer the ability to open and fund savings and transaction accounts via the mobile banking app alone and the first bank in Australia, and one of only a few in the world, to offer credit card opening via mobile."

In its annual results statement, St George parent Westpac says significant IT investment in recent years is resulting in simpler products and processes, improving reliability and driving digital innovation. The bank is three years into a five-year technology refresh programme, which it says has improved the stability of the Group's IT infrastructure and lifted employee productivity.

The bank has cut 4000 jobs over the past two years as efficiency imrpovements came onstream. Westpac CEO Gail Kelly has warned that more jobs are likely to be shed as the bank responds to global volatility.

"I would expect our overall number of staff to be reduced," she told analysts in an investment presentation, "but not at the rate we have seen over the past few years."

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