ANZ adds to Oz job misery; Westpac accused of 'censoring' Facebook complaints

ANZ adds to Oz job misery; Westpac accused of 'censoring' Facebook complaints

Australia's ANZ is to cut 1000 middle management, back office and support jobs by the end of 2012 in response to higher costs, regulatory demands and weakened consumer buying.

ANZ has already notified almost 500 employees of the termination plans, which are expected to save the bank $90 million per annum. More than 600 roles will be culled from the bank's Docklands headquarter offices in Melbourne.

The latest round of cuts comes just weeks after Westpac announced plans to axe 400 positions and offshore another 150 roles.

The country's Finance Sector Union has been actively campaigning against the cuts, and has set up a "save Westpac jobs" page on Facebook to generate support.

The move has inspired an angry backlash against the banking industry on social media sites.

Westpac - which recently hiked mortgage interest rates despite the central bank keeping the cost of borrowing on hold - has had to face up to a wave of online criticism from its own staff and the general public, amid complaints that its has been actively deleting negative comments from its Facebook Wall.

Westpac has defended the practice to local newspaper The Age, claiming that "partisan views" could deter customers from researching its financial products on social media sites.

Comments: (2)

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 14 February, 2012, 14:12Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Westpac hopefully recognizes that Facebook Wall is a feed and not an inbox. Since comments anyway tend to fade away from the FB Wall in a few hours, Westpac shouldn't find any need to delete negative comments and attract such a PR backlash. In a couple of blog posts, I've raised a few concerns about another bank's FB behavior. 

At the same time, I don't envy FB administrators and digital marketers of banks and other businesses their responsibility to safeguard their brand on a platform that is outside their control. Do they have any recourse if and when impostors masquerading as bank customers keep bombarding their FB Walls with false comments? One likely solution: "Premium FB Company Pages", where a company pays for a fan page in return for greater control over what happens there (e.g. "ban" such impostors from posting on the Wall).

Brett King
Brett King - Moven - New York 14 February, 2012, 16:14Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

We're starting to see the brand dialog become critical to the trustworthiness of banking institutions today. Consumers (and Shareholders) are now assessing how in sync the bank is with their stakeholders by how engaged and connected the brand is with their customers.

Trust in 'banks' is no longer a given since the global financial crisis, it has to be earned again. The best way to earn trust is to be open and transparent. Shutting down customers who give negative feedback tells us that you are scared of what they are saying, or have no intention of fixing the problem - that is not a cause for me to trust you more. 

Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms are about a dialog with your stakeholders. Big banks, in particular, are frustated that they can't 'spin' the brand message anymore - that they aren't in control. Customers are now in control, so if you don't engage on an equal footing, you brand will be hijacked and then you'll really have a problem.