Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) is set to axe IT staff and shelve technology projects as part of a A$370 cost cutting programme, according to local press reports.
The Australian newspaper claims CBA's decision to cut its cost base by five per cent came at an executive committee meeting last week, as the bank braces itself for potentially stormy economic weather.
The cuts will come from across the business but most job losses will involve contracted staff, says the paper.
In addition, major technology spending and projects will be shelved, although CBA's four year, A$580 million programme to overhaul its core banking legacy systems is not expected to be affected.
However, the cost cutting programme may delay the IT integration of BankWest - which CBA is acquiring from Britain's Hbos - which is slated to begin once the core banking project is in place.
Meanwhile, plans to open 160 new BankWest branches on the country's east coast may be scrapped, says the Australian.
The Financial Sector Union says it is seeking a briefing with the bank to ascertain the number of potential job cuts and from which areas of the business they will come.
In a statement, the union says: "The bank is a strong position to manage its way through the current financial crisis and shouldn't be using this current situation as an excuse to slash jobs."
Last week, rival bank ANZ outlined plans to cut jobs and expand its offshoring programme in a bid to make savings of $200 million a year.
The move came after ANZ chief Mike Smith reported a 21% drop in net profit at the bank from $4.18billion to $3.32billion and called the current financial crisis "worse than Armageddon".
Job cuts looming as CBA swings axe - The Australian