The major bank has “brought back” 1,075 jobs to Australia to “improve service to customers”, including in mortgage processing.
Westpac has announced that it has achieved its commitment to onshore more than 1,000 roles, after “bringing back” 1,075 jobs to Australia.
After committing last year to onshoring 1,000 jobs following “challenging conditions for home lending processing and call centres”, the bank has filled many positions that were previously held by offshore staff in India and the Philippines, with staff in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.
The positions include mortgage processing positions and “customer-facing contact centre roles” (particularly focusing on helping customers in financial difficulty due to COVID) through Customer Assist.
The bank said it will “shortly” be able to have 100 per cent of its customer calls “answered by someone in Australia”.
Training is now underway for the final group of employees recruited, and it is expected that the full transition of onshoring processes will be completed this year.
Westpac CEO Peter King said: “We said we would bring 1,000 jobs back, and we have.
“COVID has resulted in some of the highest levels of customer contact we have seen, and the new roles are focused on helping our customers manage the impact of the pandemic for both themselves and their businesses.”
He continued: “Great customer service is one of the most transferrable employment skills, and we have been privileged to welcome so many high-quality people from different industries to the Westpac team.”
Why they brought back jobs
In July last year, Westpac acknowledged that its response rates had been “too slow” following the “surge in demand for customer assistance at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic”, which created “challenging conditions for home lending processing and call centres, which “needed to be addressed”.
Indeed, according to Momentum Intelligence’s Broker Pulse survey, in April 2020 the bank’s time to initial credit decision for broker-lodged loans was sitting at an average of 21 days – blowing out to 24 days in December/January.
While the survey showed that the bank has been making improvements in its broker turnaround times for the past four months in a row, its time to initial credit decision for broker loans is still over 10 days (at 13.1 business days in July 2021, according to Broker Pulse respondents). However, it has also revealed that direct loans are processing more quickly.
Fellow major bank ANZ also struggled with long delays in turnarounds when demand surged during early COVID, and similarly announced a number of structural changes to its process, including the onboarding and reallocation of approximately 150 staff to its assessment team.
[Related: Westpac pledges to improve turnaround times]