Taking on the big four banks in Australia, St George has announced a deal which will provide alternative cheque clearing services to the Australian banking sector.
The new five-year relationship between the bank and vendor Unisys will see St George clearing cheques for a number of Australian companies including Australia Post, Bendigo Bank and Adelaide Bank and comes on the back of St George extending its cheque processing contract with Unisys.
The vendor provides cheque processing services through its Unisys Payments Services Ltd (UPSL) operations to corporate and banking customers, a non-bank utility service for cheque, voucher and electronic payment processing.
According to St George Bank general manager of operations Steve Bryant, after looking carefully at new and existing payment processing options available, the bank decided a relationship with UPSL would provide a strategic advantage.
"This new cheque clearing utility will drive cost efficiencies and immediate benefits for the market and place St George amongst the top four cheque-clearing banks in Australia," Bryant said.
Unisys A/NZ managing director Mike Ettling believes that from a volume perspective, the deal puts St George in competition with the top three banks, NAB, CBA and Westpac.
"Unisys processes 37 percent of all cheques in Australia, for example one million cheques are processed in our Sydney office every night five nights a week, and I'd say our Melbourne office would be around the same," Ettling said.
"The money associated with these cheques, the clearing of them, will now be done by St George, and was previously done by Westpac.
"This is a strategic step for St George, as the cheques they will be clearing will catapult them into third or fourth place."