Westpac Announces Major Technology Overhaul with Project Unite

Westpac, a leading Australian bank, has unveiled its plans for a significant technology overhaul through its Project Unite program. CEO Peter King described the project as “a business-led, technology-enabled simplification” with progress already underway.

The initiative, first outlined in the bank’s full-year results presentation in November, aims to update and enhance its technology stack, reduce its run and change costs, and narrow its cost-to-income ratio. The benefits of the project will be progressively delivered until 2028.

Westpac plans to invest between AUD 1.8 billion ($1.1 billion) and AUD 2 billion ($1.3 billion) in its technology upgrade initiatives up to 2028.

King emphasised that while Westpac’s current technology stack is not older or less capable than its peers, the bank simply has too much of it. The core objectives of Project Unite revolve around delivering a better customer experience, simplifying systems for employees, and improving shareholder returns. The initiatives will be driven by teams closest to the customer, including the bank’s institutional payments and collections teams.

According to King, Project Unite aims to make Westpac “easier to deal with” by fostering collaboration across every part of the bank and delivering results enabled by technology. The success of the project will be measured against tangible equity returns and the growth of the bank’s market position.

In the upcoming financial year, Project Unite will focus on halving the number of banker platforms to three, consolidating 11 customer onboarding systems, and streamlining seven collections systems into two single systems respectively.

The project will build upon Westpac’s upgraded technology foundations, which include recent developments such as the integration of its SaferPay product into its banking app. The bank began laying the groundwork for its tech overhaul with the launch of its enterprise technology roadmap in 2021, leading to acquisitions like MoneyBrilliant, its Banking-as-a-Service offering in collaboration with 10x Banking, and a five-year cloud transformation deal with Amazon Web Services (AWS).

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