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Westpac to layoff 300 workers in business and retail unit, says trade union

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(Reuters) – Australian lender Westpac Banking Corp will cut around 300 jobs in its consumer and business banking segments at a time of strong profit growth amid rising interest rates and soaring inflation, a local trade body said.

The Finance Sector Union of Australia (FSU) said on Friday the country’s third-largest bank would reduce headcount from its Consumer and Business Banking Division, citing a Westpac internal memo seen by the union.

The potential layoffs represent 0.8% of Westpac’s total full-time equivalent workforce of 37,476, as at September 2022.

Reuters could not independently get hold of the internal memo.

FSU National Secretary Julia Angrisano condemned the cuts and said, “Westpac workers have already been struggling with excessive workload demands, and these cuts mean those who are left behind will need to do more with less.”

Westpac in May, alongside major lenders including ANZ Group, National Australia Bank as well as Singapore’s DBS Group warned about pressure on the banks’ net interest margins going ahead as interest rate cycles near peaks.

In May, Westpac, Australia’s No. 2 mortgage provider reported a 22% rise in its first half net profit to A$4.00 billion ($2.70 billion) amid a high-inflationary environment.

The bank could not be reached immediately for a comment on account of a public holiday on Monday.

($1 = 1.4839 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Rishav Chatterjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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