Australian lender Westpac to cut more jobs to increase profitability

Leading Australian bank Westpac is planning another round of job cuts, as it looks to reduce costs and bolster profitability.

The bank said it plans to cut 119 technology jobs which will go offshore, while another seven positions in the collections area would be cut.

According to Westpac, the decision reflected the changes going on in the finance sector. Westpac chief operating officer John Arthur said restructuring decisions were always difficult, and made only following a thorough review. He added, the bank was acutely aware of the impact on the workforce and was committed to supporting its people through this change.

He added, the financial services industry was undergoing significant structural change as banks strove to become stronger by being more efficient and competitive in serving customers' needs.

The latest move comes after Westpac's decision on shedding 560 positions in early February, in a bid to rein in costs and to consolidate staff following the acquisition of St George in 2008. In January the bank put under review 28 IT management roles and said more IT cuts would follow.

Finance Sector Union (FSU) national secretary Leon Carter said the only reason people were losing their jobs was because Australia's most profitable bank was looking to get the job done more cheaply offshore.