How Westpac is investing in fintechs and spending $1 billion on digital transformation

  • Westpac says it has spent $800 million in system upgrades, digital transformation, and innovation.
  • The bank has 20 APIs in production and another 180 in development.
  • And it has upped its investment in fintech startups.

Westpac’s annual results show how far the bank has gone to transform itself into a digital showcase and how it has been heavily investing in the rise of disrupting fintechs.

Out of a total investment of $1.4 billion, the bank spent more than $800 million in system upgrades, digital transformation, and innovation.

CEO Brian Hartzer says the focus has been on delivering technology platforms, while simplifying and automating processes to make banking easier.

“We have already migrated 100 applications onto our cloud infrastructure platforms which are now largely complete,” he says.

“Additionally we have over 120 APIs in production and another 180 in development.”

Among digital initiatives are Siri for Westpac, mobile cheque deposits, new online home loan applications, and E-Sign which allows a mortgage application to be completed online or via a smartphone.

Payment innovations include partnerships with Google Pay, Garmin, Fit Bit, and BeemIt, a mobile payment app which enables free and instant payments for anyone in Australia with a debit card, regardless of where they bank.

Strategic investments include Assembly Payments, Zip, Uno, and Open Agent.

Westpac has also increased its investment in venture fund Reinventure’s portfolio of fintech startups by $50 million to $150 million.

Hartzer says this positions “Westpac to harness the benefits of data and rapid technological change while bringing new value-added services to our customers”.

Australian fintech revenues are up 2.25 times and more of the startups have hit profitability as the local sector matures, according to the EY Census released last week.

Reinventure’s portfolio includes peer-to-peer lending platform SocietyOne, BRICKX and OpenAGent, as this chart shows:

Westpac

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