Westpac chief executive George Frazis has unveiled the bank’s plans to ramp up its mortgage growth.
The two-front expansion is in line with Westpac chief executive Brian Hartzer’s goal of replacing the Commonwealth Bank as the nation’s highest performing consumer bank by focusing on customer service and efficiency.
Last September, Hartzer set a goal: gain an extra one million customers by 2017. He stated that 850,000 out of the million would come from his division.
Currently, Hartzer’s division has more than eight million customers, with the remainder being business customers.
Westpac hopes to win over young adults (particularly those about to join the workforce and those in universities), migrants, women, and even the customers of other banks, for its transaction account business.
"It's all about making sure that we've got sustainability in the growth of our business," he said in an interview with Fairfax Media. "If you think of our new customers, [they are] not necessarily customers that are profitable straight off, but it's all about the value and the services we can provide those customers down the track."
Westpac is the second largest bank in the country in terms of mortgage lending, but the lender’s growth was much slower than the industry average the previous year.
Frazis also has plans to boost mortgage growth. He mentioned that the bank wanted to raise long-term growth to match the industry, or even go slightly faster.
"I'm still fairly confident that there's a robustness in the growth in the home loan market, so I don't really buy the argument that we're going to see a dramatic fall-off," he said. "Our objective is to definitely target home loan growth.”
Frazis confirmed that the bank had reduced staff in the division, and staff numbers would continue to drop. He did not reveal how much of the staff was reduced, but he asserted that this was secondary to improving the quality of service the bank offered its customers.
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