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Online Banking Saves Paper Says Westpac

Online Banking Change Could Save Eight Million Pieces Of Paper A Year

Westpac’s Online Banking customers can now choose to turn off their paper-based statements.

The move is driven by a combination of meeting customer needs and Westpac’s commitment to drastically reducing its environmental impact. It could reduce the organisation’s consumption of paper by as much as eight million sheets per year, should customer take-up reach maximum levels.

“An organisation the size of Westpac can make a huge difference to our environment by making decisions like offering customers the ability to turn off their paper-based statements,” said Westpac CEO Ann Sherry. “Of course, we expect this change to be popular with our Online Banking customers and meet our customers’ needs, along with being beneficial to the environment.”

Westpac Online Banking customers will be able to select the option to suppress their statements online, and use Online Banking as their primary source of information about their accounts. If, at a later date, any customers decide they do need a paper statement, a visit to a branch or contact with a call centre will enable their statements to be switched back on.

In addition to statement suppression, Westpac has been rolling out a series of other initiatives to promote its drive to reduce waste. For example, by the end of 2005 all staff at corporate sites (around 2500 staff) will each have individual recycling facilities at their desks. The remaining branches will be upgraded in 2006. Buildings are being converted to low energy consumption facilities, and double sided printers are set to be installed as standard.

“We’ve set ourselves the goal of reducing our impact on the environment right down to zero,” continued Sherry. “That’s an extremely ambitious goal, but it means that we will always have something to strive for, and the opportunity to innovate in our waste and recycling practices.”

Peter Neilson, Chief Executive of the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development, welcomed Westpac's initiative as demonstrating how different organisations can tackle the issue of sustainable production and consumption.

"This is a simple solution which shows how organisations such as banks can improve their service to customers and reduce their environmental impact at the same time,” he said. “It’s a win-win solution which demonstrates how sustainable development is about doing more with less. Sustainable Development is just smart business, good for customers, business and the environment.”

More than 450,000 customers are registered to use Westpac’s Online Banking service, and it consistently rates as the most used Online Banking service in New Zealand. In addition it recently recorded a 97% positive customer satisfaction rating in an independent ACNielsen survey, the highest result of the five main banks.

Ends

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