The major bank has said that it will onshore 1,000 jobs following “challenging conditions for home lending processing and call centres”.
Westpac has acknowledged that its response rates have been “too slow” following the “surge in demand for customer assistance at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic”, which created “challenging conditions for home lending processing and call centres, which “needed to be addressed”.
The 1,000 new roles will support Westpac’s call centres, as well as provide processing and operational assistance to functions like home lending and consumer finance.
According to Momentum Intelligence’s Broker Pulse survey from June 2020, the bank’s turnaround times were sitting around 11.2 days. However, they blew out to 21 days in April 2020.
Westpac CEO Peter King said: “While we have added additional resourcing to support unprecedented demand following COVID-19, and I thank our teams who have worked tirelessly helping customers, at times our response rates have been too slow.
“Today’s announcement is a further step in transforming our business and mortgage operations, helping to support local employment, reducing the risk of offshore disruption, and accelerating our ability to simplify processes through digitisation.”
Mr King also said it would be returning all dedicated “voice roles” to Australia to “enhance the capacity of our existing call centres”. This will mean that when a customer calls the bank, it will be answered by someone in Australia.
“Bringing jobs back to Australia has been made possible with the changing work patterns in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the upgrade to our technology infrastructure over recent years. Together, these have enabled our teams to operate effectively at home or in other locations when needed,” Mr King said.
The bank CEO said that implementation will take about 12 months to give the bank time to work through existing obligations with overseas partners and to develop “the best service model for the new jobs here in Australia”.
It is expected that the new roles will be filled with new and existing employees and become part of a more distributed workforce structure across Australia, with the jobs distributed across regional and metro areas.
Westpac will maintain its relationship with its overseas strategic partners, particularly in certain areas of technology and operations.
According to the bank, the creation of the new roles will initially increase costs by around $45 million per annum by the end of full year 2021.
[Related: NAB, Westpac lose broker business]