ANZ slashes 200 jobs in Australia

SYDNEY • Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) is getting rid of about 200 jobs in its Australian unit as lending growth slows in a subdued economy.

The reductions will be largely in Melbourne and affect managerial and back-office roles in areas such as marketing and project management, Melbourne-based spokesman Stephen Ries said in an e-mail yesterday.

ANZ's job cuts highlight the challenges ahead for Australian banks after three of the four largest lenders this month announced net income that missed analyst estimates amid rising corporate loan defaults. ANZ is also slashing its Asian and institutional-banking workforce as part of a move to exit low-returning assets.

Mr Rohan Walsh, an investment manager at Melbourne-based Karara Capital, said: "Australian lenders are under pressure to have the right asset mix as capital requirements increase, and in that general push, they are trying to ensure they have the right cost base .

"ANZ, in particular, is already shrinking its Asian operation to boost returns and one would think ongoing cost controls would be the focus of the management team."

ANZ reduced its institutional-banking workforce by 6 per cent and trimmed the number of employees in the Australian business by 3 per cent in the year to March 31, according to filings.

The lender is not done with job cuts in the institutional bank, the head of the business, Mr Mark Whelan, said in an interview last week.

Mr Ries said: "The changes are in response to subdued economic conditions, low lending growth and the need to simplify our business and improve productivity." The lender also has an external hiring freeze in place, he said. The Australian unit employed 8,791 at the end of March, according to filings.

Growth in mortgages, which make up two-thirds of the assets of the largest Australian banks, has slipped to the lowest in almost a year, central bank data showed.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 18, 2016, with the headline 'ANZ slashes 200 jobs in Australia'. Print Edition | Subscribe