New U.K. Bank Outsources All Tech

Metro Bank PLC, the first retail banking company launched in the U.K. in over a century, opened this summer with a 100% outsourced IT infrastructure.

CEO Craig Donaldson said that having an efficient IT system was "crucial" to the bank's launch. Metro Bank is attempting to provide superior customer service, with offerings such as long hours of operation seven days a week and the ability to give customers credit or debit cards instantly at branches.

The bank has four branches and plans to open 40 more in the next four years, eventually reaching a total of 200 by 2020. But it only has five in-house IT staffers because of the outsourcing arrangement.

Metro Bank outsourced its IT systems and maintenance to London-based services provider Niu Solutions. The bank has a "pay as you grow" contract under which it will pay more but receive more services as it expands.

Financial details weren't disclosed, but the deal covers infrastructure and software management, voice and data services, virtual desktops and mobile technology, as well as the bank's Web site, help desk and two data centers.

Metro Bank principally uses the popular Temenos banking software, plus a mix of Oracle, SAP and IBM applications.

The newcomer offers online banking, and it aims to add mobile phone banking next year. Future plans call for systems that branch employees can use to create personalized credit cards for customers on-site, and RFID tags for mobile phones that would allow the devices to be used for contactless payment.

This version of this story was originally published in Computerworld's print edition. It was adapted from an article that appeared earlier on the Computerworld U.K. Web site.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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