Australian Military Bank has implemented Finacle\u2019s full banking solution stack in just ten months, in a bid to better serve its members and more readily link up with fintechs.\nThe bank, Australia\u2019s longest serving Defence financial institution with a membership made up chiefly by Defence personnel and their families, completed the switch to Finacle (a product subsidiary of Infosys) in February.\nGo-live of all of the bank\u2019s core systems \u2013 including core banking, line origination, CMS, document management, regulatory reporting, payments and channels \u2013 came less than a year after the signing of the contract, a time-frame bank CEO John Ford calls \u201cextraordinary\u201d.\n\u201cTo do that in ten monthshellip;is a remarkable achievement,\u201d he says.\nThe bank, which has over 50,000 members and $1.3billion of funds under its management, was seeking to transform into a \u201cmodern, nimble, new age digital bank\u201d and provide a level of service \u201cbetter than the global banks\u201d.\n\u201cOur demographic, we don\u2019t exclusively service serving personnel, but they\u2019re a significant part of our membership. They\u2019re typically young, technologically-inclined people,\u201d Ford says.\nThe preferred channels of member interaction with the bank were changing, for example only one per cent of customer led interactions were happening at AMB\u2019s 30 branches, situated at major Defence bases.\n\u201cSo it\u2019s very important for us to have a state of the art digital solution and channels,\u201d Ford adds.\nAs well as being able to reap the benefits sooner, a speedy roll-out was necessary given AMB\u2019s relatively small size, Ford explains.\n\u201cAMBdoesn\u2019t have the scale to afford to have large teams pulled out of the business to support a multi-year IT project. The opportunity cost and the real cost of running a multi-year IT project is very high, with the potential for delays and scope creeps,\u201d he says.\nThe bank also wanted a cloud-based, SaaS model, and \u201ca primary vendor that was responsible for the whole show\u201d.\nQuick deployment\nThe benefits of the switch have been significant. AMB has been able to roll out a slew of digital banking features such as budgeting tools and calculators, PIN change and card activation, real time alerts, international payments and NPP functionality.\nThe bank is now able to onboard new members and open accounts within minutes, it says, while a new origination (the process of creating a home loan or mortgage) system has made approvals simpler and swifter.\n \n\u201cIt allows us to compete. We\u2019re never going to have the IT budgets of the majors. It\u2019s a pipe dream. So if we\u2019re not large, we need to be small and agile. And by partnering with a large and capable IT company, we can compete. We\u2019re not going to have those 100s of engineers and programmers coming off their graduate cycle \u2013 we\u2019re not at that scale. But with SaaS we can access that,\u201d Ford says.\nAs a result of the customer-facing features, the bank has seen a 46 per cent increase in registrations to its internet banking and mobile channels, and a 116 per cent increase in mobile app registrations.\n\u201c[Members are] seizing on that utility. If I\u2019d have given my marketing manager a lot of time and a lot of money she would not have achieved that sort of growth rate in mobile usage,\u201d Ford says.\n \nThe Finacle stack was adopted mostly \u2018out-of-the-box\u2019 apart from one \u2018Major\u2019 customisation, Ford says.\n\u201cThere was only one core system change through the whole project. The one change was the salutation field length. In our client base if you work hard to become a lieutenant colonel, and you\u2019ve worked most of your military career to achieve that you expect to be addressed in a certain way; wing commander or whatever it is.\n\u201cWe kept customisation to an absolute minimum. It didn\u2019t change the scope. But for our membership base it was important.\u201d\nEcosystem ready\nOn day one in February, AMB offered up 16 APIs. APIs form a key part of the bank\u2019s future, Ford hinted.\n\u201cOpen published APIs are very important to us, that allow us to integrate with best of breed providers. Day one we\u2019ve gone out with 16 integrations. We don\u2019t expect that we\u2019ll end there, that will only increase over time. If you look forward, that ability to interface with the rest of the world is very important,\u201d Ford says.\nThey have allowed the bank to establish end to end integration with credit bureau, ATM providers and payments solution providers.\n\u201cWe now have a system where the fintech doesn\u2019t roll their eyes and say we can\u2019t integrate with that, show us your APIs,\u201d Ford adds.\nAccording to the CEO now is an opportune time for smaller, mutual banks like AMB.\nNo mutual were called before the Banking Royal Commission, the recent Hammond review means member-owned financial firms are likely to gain more ready access to capital, and their size makes them more nimble to tackle challenges like the Open Banking regime.\n\u201cThe technology platform the bank\u2019s laid down puts us in a position where we can be confident about the future,\u201d Ford adds.