Westpac to shrink bank branch, grow spending on digital

Westpac to shrink bank branch, grow spending on digital

Westpac is to increase it annual investment spending by 20% to $1.3 billion, concentrating the new money on technology and digital initiatives while shrinking the bank branch.

At a strategy update in Sydney, Westpac CEO Brian Hartzer, said the additional $200 million spend will be directed towards growth, service and efficiency initiatives.

"This means concentrating our spend on technology, on digital, on simplification, as we hone our focus on service," he says. "By investing in digital, we can use technology to redesign the customer experience, making things simpler, easier and better for our customers and our people."

The bank has set its sights on reducing its costs/efficiency ratio to below 40% and realising a 15% return on investment as it targets one million new customers by the end of 2017.

Key to this will be the creation of a Customer Service Hub, consolidating multiple systems and providing the bank with a single view of the customer and their financial ambitions.

Alongside the investment in new technology, the bank is also converting half of its branches to 24-hour 'lobbies' featuring smart ATMs and other self-service machines. The new-look outlets will make up 55% of the network by 2018, says Hartzer.

“We expect that over the next three years about 550 of our branches will have been converted to the new format,” he says. "Banking is undergoing a transformational change. The measures we have outlined today will deliver a step change in the service we provide to customers, while at the same time improving our efficiency and productivity."

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