U.S. commercial banks will spend nearly $18 billion on information technology this year. For an industry that is required to produce reams of financial reports, it is perhaps incongruous that there is no public information on where all this money goes.

From surveys, we know that banks invest about a quarter of their technology dollars on new technologies and applications. That $4.4 billion is typically aimed at increasing revenue or reducing expenses, either by improving existing systems or automating manual tasks.

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