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‘Thanks for the profit, see you in six months'

3 May 2006

Finsec the finance workers' union

Westpac Australia: ‘thanks for the profit, see you in another six months’

The New Zealand component of Westpac’s profit to be announced tomorrow is likely to be over $350 million. That means that each of Westpac’s 1.3 million customers have made an average $270 contribution to Westpac’s Australian shareholders during the last six months. Finsec, the union representing bank workers, is asking Westpac to place less emphasis on taking New Zealand money across the Tasman, and more emphasis on its customer’s financial wellbeing.

“People sometimes say we don’t treat Australians very kindly here in New Zealand.” Said Finsec Campaigns Director, Karen Skinner. “But over the last half a year a third of New Zealanders have paid, from their own pockets, an average of $270 net to the wellbeing of one of Australia’s biggest banks. That’s the equivalent of each Westpac customer giving a new mobile phone to the bank.

“Our members are pleased to be working for a successful and profitable company. They’re pleased to have been a key part of creating that profit. But they don’t want to be incentivised each year to help the bank send another record profit off-shore and they want the bank to invest more in their New Zealand customers. They want a pay system that rewards customer service rather than one that encourages selling of debt.”

Westpac has promised to design a new pay system for its staff that will not be focused solely on encouraging its staff to sell customers more products. This latest profit figure shows that it can comfortably afford to design a system that will give customers a higher quality service, more staff and less focus on selling debt.

ENDS

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