Westpac integrates the infrastructure of its four banking brands so that customers can use branches interchangeably.
In a market update released today, Westpac CEO Peter King said the multi-brand infrastructure “opens up the [branch] network to all customers across all brands,” including Bank of Melbourne, St George Bank and Bank of SA.
This includes all counter transactions – deposits and withdrawals, checks and coin counting, which he says “are particularly important for small businesses”.
The changes will be rolled out from early 2023.
King said the bank’s investment in digital infrastructure has supported branch co-location, with multiple branches under one roof, which King says “improves our network economics while maintaining access.” for our customers”.
There are currently 21 co-located branches now operational, and “we are looking at opportunities for over 100 more,” he said.
Today, King said, colocation involves multiple computer systems in the branch, but by early next year only one system will be needed.
The multi-brand infrastructure is part of Westpac’s long-term plan to reduce its cost base by $8 billion, first announced in May 2021.
The multi-branch infrastructure and colocation will primarily save money in real estate, King said, with Westpac expecting to retain as many staff as possible.
On an investor call, King said iTnews the multi-brand infrastructure primarily reflects the work Westpac has put into the “digital front-end”, as opposed to its back-end ledger infrastructure.
“What we talked about today is about the digital interface…we want to get the customer experience into digital, and we want to get a process for customers,” he said.
Some of the ledger operations between Westpac and St George will remain on discrete systems for the time being, he said.
“The ledgers…really just count. It’s a much smaller issue for us in terms of priorities…we’re going to reduce those registries along the way,” King added.