NAB to slash 10.5% of global workforce in cost-cutting programme

NAB to slash 10.5% of global workforce in cost-cutting programme

National Australia Bank is to shed more than 10% of its workforce, cutting around 4200 positions globally, under a sweeping cost-cutting programme that involves back office redundancies in Australia and branch closures in the UK.

Of the 2000 Australian job losses, the majority will come from back office and non-customer facing staff, as the bank integrates wealth management and retail and corporate banking, and their associated systems and processes.

Announcing the programme, NAB chief John Stewart says: "This integration gave us an opportunity to remove subsequent duplication in back office functions and reduce the size of the corporate centre in Australia as we devolve relevant functions to the Australian region."

Other cuts will come from downsizing of the Institutional Markets and Services business across Asia and the creation of a regional processing hub in Hong Kong.

In the UK, the bank has announced plans to to close approximately 60 Clydesdale and 40 Yorkshire Bank branches during the next 18 months. In March, NAB said it would be axeing 1700 jobs in Britain as part of a widescale restructuring of its Yorkshire Bank and Clydesdale Bank operations.

The bank says internal customer research indicates that three-quarters of customers do not use their local branch. Instead the bank will open more branches in the South East of England and spend money to revitalise its call centres, telephone and Internet banking platforms, and ATM networks.

The programme has been condemned by labour unions in Australia and the UK. It comes as the NAB posts a record first half profit of A$2.54 billion, boosted by one-off gains.

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