Westpac Banking Corp is cutting more than 150 jobs as Australia’s second-largest lender consolidates its international operations, people familiar with the matter said.
The cuts would impact employees in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Mumbai and Jakarta, where the Sydney-based bank is exiting its operations.
Most staff are locally employed and the process would take one to two years, one of the people said, speaking on the condition of anonymity as the layoffs have not been made public.
Westpac is to consolidate its overseas operations into three hubs — Singapore, London and New York — and institutional banking services would also be streamlined, it said in a statement yesterday.
While the plans are not expected to significantly impact the bank’s cash earnings, they would improve capital and reduce risk-weighted assets by more than A$5 billion (US$3.6 billion), it said.
A representative for Westpac declined to comment on staffing.
Chief executive officer Peter King is overhauling Australia’s oldest bank as the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic and the cost of cleaning up years of misconduct impacts earnings.
The bank last month paid a record A$1.3 billion fine to settle Australia’s biggest breach of money laundering laws — just one month after it scrapped its dividend after bad debts grew.
“Westpac’s priority is to focus on its core Australian and New Zealand customers and to support them in areas where we have scale and capability,” Westpac Institutional Bank acting CEO Curt Zuber said in the statement.
Shuttering offshore branches “will enable us to deliver products and services to customers more efficiently,” he said.
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