RETAIL BANKING | Cesar Tordesillas, Australia

Westpac restructures retail and business banking business

Group executive for Westpac retail and business banking, Rob Coombe, had resigned and had been replaced by Jason Yetton. 

Westpac said Coombe was leaving to pursue other opportunities. The bank is currently restructuring and has announced the formation of a new division.

The retail and business banking division, the group's largest, contributed nearly A$2 billion to its A$6.3 billion cash earnings in 2010/11.

The group, which includes Westpac, St George bank and wealth manager BT Financial Group, also said it had hired Brian Hartzer from Royal Bank of Scotland to lead a newly created division called Australian Financial Services.

Hartzer, who is chief executive of UK retail, wealth and Ulster at RBS, spent 15 years in Australia primarily in Australia and New Zealand Banking Group before moving to Britain with RBS. He will take on his new job in 2012

Coombe, who joined Westpac in 2001, was highly regarded at Westpac and often touted as chief executive in waiting. He was credited with boosted customer numbers by selling more products per customer.

"They have immediately named a replacement for Rob Coombe and Brian Hartzer has the track record of building the retail bank when he was at ANZ. They have the structure in place," said James Ellis, a banking analyst at Credit Suisse.

Hartzer would lead Westpac's retail and business bank, St George Banking Group, and BTFinancial, the bank said. The three divisions contributed A$3.76 billion or nearly 60 percent of Westpac's financial year 2011 cash earnings.

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