24/11/2017 - 15:14

Westpac expands business banking arm

24/11/2017 - 15:14

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Westpac Bank has absorbed the Western Australian business banking operations of its wholly-owned subsidiary St George Bank, adding to a string of changes in the sector.

Westpac expands business banking arm
Jay Watson (left) and Ben Jones are now together at Westpac. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Westpac Bank has absorbed the Western Australian business banking operations of its wholly-owned subsidiary St George Bank, adding to a string of changes in the sector.

Westpac has just more than 300 commercial and small business bankers in WA after this week’s combination with St George.

That confirms its status as the second largest business banking group in WA behind Bankwest, according to data compiled by Business News in the BNiQ Search Engine.

Sydney-based St George will continue to operate as a separate retail banking brand in WA, and will retain its business banking operations in other states, where it has larger scale.

St George’s former head of business bank in WA, Ben Jones, will report to Westpac’s general manager commercial banking WA, Jay Watson.

Mr Jones said the combination would create a leading business bank that best supported the state’s future growth.

“In doing so, we bring together St George’s expertise in property and professional services with Westpac’s expertise in education, mining, agriculture and inbound Asian investment,” he said.

Customers will continue their relationship with the same banker while gaining access to a wider network of support, including the Westpac branch network and a broader WA-based credit team.  

There will be no redundancies as a result of the change.

Mr Watson said Westpac had maintained a stable team across its commercial banking operations.

This included keeping senior commercial bankers in the Pilbara, Karratha and Port Hedland.

Dean Hely, managing partner at legal firm Lavan, said St George’s expertise in professional services had been a huge asset for his firm.

Mr Hely said that with the WA economy turning the corner, he was pleased to be able to continue with the same relationship banker while gaining access to a broader team of experts and resources.  

The changes at Westpac follow restructuring moves at some other banks, with ANZ Bank’s top business banker in WA, Jeff Pontifex, recently leaving the organisation.

National Australia Bank is going through a broader restructure, with the bank recently announcing plans to cut a net 4,000 jobs across Australia.

This comprises 2,000 new positions being created and 6,000 jobs being cut as it moves to automate and simplify its operations.

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