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Westpac boss Peter King is restructuring his top executive ranks as the bank tries to win more small business and households as customers, with one of its most senior leaders Chris de Bruin set to leave the banking giant.
Under the reshuffle, long-serving executive Jason Yetton will become chief executive of Westpac’s flagship consumer bank, while current institutional banking chief Anthony Miller will become head of business and wealth.
Chris de Bruin, the current chief executive of consumer and business banking, has decided to leave Westpac.Credit: Michael Quelch
Westpac said de Bruin, who has been with the lending giant for about two-and-half years, had decided to leave the bank to pursue new opportunities. King highlighted de Bruin’s role in upgrading Westpac’s use of technology in consumer banking and its program of consolidating branches as more customers do their banking digitally.
“I want to thank Chris for his contribution to the bank. In particular, he’s led the digitisation of the consumer bank, including the delivery of major initiatives such as the digital mortgage and payment solutions,” King said.
After Westpac has sold off various non-core businesses in recent years and sought to cut costs, King said the changes were aimed at ramping up the company’s growth.
“To sharpen our focus, we are appointing dedicated group executives responsible for consumer banking and business banking,” King said.
With mortgage growth slowing, business banking – a market where National Australia Bank writes the most loans – has become a critical battleground for the big four.
Leading the push further into business banking will be Miller, a former head of Deutsche Bank in Australia, who since late 2020 has been working on turning around Westpac’s once vast institutional bank.
The changes will result in Yetton returning to a similar role he held last decade, running the consumer bank. Retail banking is a critical part of Westpac – it is the second-biggest mortgage lender in the country behind arch rival Commonwealth Bank.
In its latest half-yearly results, Westpac’s market share in mortgages dipped slightly, amid a period of fierce competition characterised by discounted interest rates and generous cashback deals.
Yetton had been leading a division that housed non-core Westpac businesses, but King said the division was no longer needed after Westpac had exited nine businesses in the past few years.
In other changes announced on Wednesday, the bank appointed Nell Hutton as chief executive of Westpac’s institutional bank, while Scott Collary, currently a group executive in charge of customer services and technology, will become chief information officer.
Group executive Carolyn McCann will lead an expanded division dealing with customer and corporate services.
Bank investors remain focused on the intensity of competition in mortgages, which has squeezed margins, and the risk that weaker economic conditions will cause a jump in bad debts.
UBS analysts this week argued mortgage competition had eased off lately, highlighting a recent slowdown in Macquarie Group’s home loan growth.
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