Westpac Bank Cuts 119 Technology Jobs

Westpac Banking Corp. (WBC), Australia’s second-biggest lender, will eliminate 119 information technology jobs to cut costs as demand for mortgages has slowed to the weakest level in more than three decades.

Most of the positions are Sydney-based and are in addition to the as many as 400 reductions announced by Westpac last month, spokesman Paul Marriage said in a telephone interview. Today’s cuts were first announced by the Finance Sector Union, which represents bank workers.

Australia’s four largest banks may eliminate 7,000 jobs in the next two years, seeking to reduce labor costs that account for 58 percent of expenses, UBS AG said in January. Home-loan growth has slowed to the lowest level since 1977, after the country’s central bank raised interest rates seven times from October 2009 to November 2010.

“We’re committed to retaining our core, high-skill technology workforce in Westpac, but some roles can be more efficiently provided by external specialists,” Marriage said. “We’re doing this to improve customer service and remain competitive. They are difficult decisions and we’re aware of the impact on our people.”

Westpac, which employed 37,712 people as of Sept. 30, fell 1.1 percent to A$20.53 at the close in Sydney. The shares have fallen 13 percent in the past 12 months.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jacob Greber in Sydney at jgreber@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chitra Somayaji at csomayaji@bloomberg.net

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