Banks look to merge back-office work

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission approval of a cheque-processing joint venture between the major banks opens the way for further bank back-office consolidations, industry analysts say. Credit cards and mortgages are predicted to be the next in line. Westpac, NAB and the Commonwealth will merge their voucher-processing centres to cut costs under the Vipro venture. On NAB's initial estimations, the venture would mean a 34 per cent saving on voucher processing for each of the banks involved. But none is committing to a reduction in cheque clearing times for customers.