RETAIL BANKING | Cesar Tordesillas, Australia

Westpac prepares to axe more jobs

Westpac employees are bracing for a second wave of job losses as the bank seeks to curb costs.


The bank is experiencing its slowest demand for credit in more than three decades.

The bank's chief executive, Gail Kelly, yesterday defended plans to axe as many as 400 positions mostly back office roles from the bank, while outsourcing another 150 jobs.

Mrs Kelly suggested further losses were likely, although they would not be as big as this week's program.
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''We are in a changing world and it is really important for us to have a strong banking system,'' said Kelly.

The chief executive acknowledged that some of the job losses were due to removing duplication after Westpac's acquisition of St George Bank three years ago.

Bank insiders have also questioned the timing of the losses, given Westpac's commitment to pushing ahead with a costly expansion of its new Bank of Melbourne franchise. The business, which is modelled on a regional bank, this week opened its 50th branch across Victoria.

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