RETAIL BANKING | Tony Chua, Australia

CBA and union to hold talks on cost-cutting plan

Project 35 raised job loss fears as the lender aims to do business more efficiently and more effectively.

Commonwealth Bank will meet representatives of the Finance Sector Union tomorrow to thrash out the union's concerns about possible job losses from the bank's Project 35 cost-cutting program.

Amid poor business and consumer confidence and weak credit growth, CBA wants to cut its retail bank cost-to-income ratio -- the key measure of bank productivity -- to 35 per cent by 2013, down from 38.7 per cent last June.

A bank spokesman said there was no target for job cuts, and that Project 35, run by senior CBA executive Rob de Luca, was all about doing things "more efficiently and more effectively".

But the FSU said it wanted to discuss the scope of Project 35.

"The bank seems to be saying that the main target is non-staff costs," acting national secretary Chris Gambian said.

"But in most cases, it's pretty hard to achieve a significant reduction in costs without affecting staff levels."

View the full story in The Australian.

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