Westpac Banking to cut more than 150 jobs as bank exits China, India

The cuts will impact employees in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Mumbai and Jakarta where the Sydney-based bank is exiting its operations
Westpac Banking Corp. is cutting more than 150 jobs as Australia’s second-largest lender consolidates its international operations, according to people familiar with the matter.

The cuts will 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 will take one to two years, one of the people said, speaking on the condition of anonymity as the layoffs haven’t been made public.

Westpac will consolidate its overseas operations into three hubs -- Singapore, London and New York -- and institutional banking services will also be streamlined, Westpac said in a statement on Wednesday. While the plans aren’t expected to significantly impact the bank’s cash earnings, they will improve capital and reduce risk-weighted assets by over A$5 billion ($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 coronavirus 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 anti-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,” Curt Zuber, the acting CEO of the Institutional Bank, 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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