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ANZ Bank Considers Call-Center Job Cuts in Victoria State

Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., the nation’s third-largest bank by market value, is considering job cuts at its call centers in Victoria as part of a draft proposal sent to senior management.

A decision on the headcount reduction won’t be made in the near future, Stephen Ries, a spokesman for the bank said in an e-mailed statement. ANZ plans to send as many as 590 jobs to the Philippines and New Zealand, the Herald Sun reported today, citing internal documents.

Australian banks are eliminating jobs or sending them to lower-cost regions to protect record profits as credit demand slows. Mortgage growth in the country is running at close to a record low, while personal lending dropped 0.2 percent and loans to business increased 1.4 percent in April from a year earlier, Reserve Bank of Australia data show.

“Many ideas and proposals come up from time to time which inevitably change so we won’t speculate on what may happen in the future,” Ries said.

The Financial Services Union, which represents workers in the industry, says it was notified of 3,238 job cuts and 1,207 positions moved outside Australia last year. A further 1,652 cuts and job relocations have been reported in 2013.

ANZ in 2012 announced plans to shed 1,000 jobs by September of that year as part of Chief Executive Officer Michael Smith’s efforts to offset slumping loan growth. It cut 50 jobs in its institutional and international banking business in March.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the nation’s biggest lender by market value, said in July it would freeze base salaries for people making A$150,000 ($139,470) or more in its institutional banking and markets division, according to an internal memo. Westpac Banking Corp. eliminated more than 500 roles early last year.

Shares of ANZ closed 2.5 percent lower at A$27.65 in Sydney, while the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index ended down 2.1 percent.

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