29/06/2004 - 22:00

HBOS and NAB fill key roles

29/06/2004 - 22:00


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The filling of two key banking jobs has highlighted the internationalisation of the financial services industry.

HBOS and NAB fill key roles

The filling of two key banking jobs has highlighted the internationalisation of the financial services industry.

National Australia Bank has appointed an Irishman from Leeds in England to run its Western Australian business, while BankWest’s UK parent HBOS has appointed a Sydney man to run its Australian operations.

HBOS this week announced the appointment of former Westpac executive David Willis as the inaugural chief executive of HBOS Australia.

Mr Willis will have oversight of four businesses, including Bank-West.

HBOS also said the appointment of BankWest’s new managing director “is expected to be made soon”.

Mr Willis’s appointment coincided with Geoff Greer starting his new job as NAB’s general manager, business financial services WA.

Mr Greer, who has 28 years’ banking experience in the UK, most recently as chief operating officer of NAB’s Leeds-based subsidiary Yorkshire Bank, is aiming to extend NAB’s lead in WA’s business banking market.

Research by Sydney firm TNS shows that NAB holds a 23.6 per cent share of the WA business banking market, with Westpac holding the number two spot.

Mr Greer said the NAB would focus on fundamentals such as consistent, high-quality service.

“What we differentiate is the quality of service and speed of delivery,” he said.

“We want to be an organisation that people find easy to deal with.”

Mr Greer also recognises that business customers are keen to have continuity in their dealings with their bank.

“They don’t want to explain the workings of their business to someone different every three or four months,” Mr Greer told WA Business News.

Another challenge at NAB is overcoming the fallout from its corporate ructions, which general manager business financial services Australia Jeremy Dean acknowledged had damaged the bank.

“It can’t help but affect customer sentiment and our brand,” Mr Dean said.

He asserted that quality service by managers on the ground was the best antidote to the bank’s corporate problems.

At HBOS, Mr Willis has taken on the challenge of integrating the group’s four Australian businesses – BankWest, corporate banking outfit BOS International (Australia), leasing firm Capital Finance and niche insurer St Andrew’s Insurance.

“These businesses will have the full support of one of Europe’s largest financial services providers and I intend taking advantage of that support to realise the full potential of the Australian businesses,” Mr Willis told WA Business News.

He said HBOS wanted the four businesses to take a single view of customer needs.

“Then we can bundle and package products and services that are far more suited to the customers needs,” Mr Willis said.

The main opportunities were on the east coast and in growth of corporate banking, he said.

The formation of HBOS Australia, which followed the group’s move to 100 per cent ownership of BankWest in September last year, has effectively reduced the autonomy of BankWest.

HBOS Australia is to have its own board of directors, which will be responsible for the strategic direction of the Australian group as a whole.

BankWest, along with the other Australian businesses, will retain their existing boards.

The position of BankWest managing director, formerly held by Terry Budge, who retired recently, will carry less weight under the new structure.

BankWest’s acting managing director is HBOS appointee Rodger McArthur, who transferred from the UK in 2002.

Mr Willis’s most recent full-time role, which he left about two years ago, was group executive of Westpac Institutional Bank.

Since then, he took a one-year sabbatical and worked for a number of small companies while looking for a chief executive role.

Prior to joining Westpac in 1996, he was chief executive of Lloyds Bank Australia.


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