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Westpac downsizes, cuts overseas businesses

Westpac is set to consolidate a number of its international operations in a bid to simplify its operations and improve capital efficiency.

Following a comprehensive review of its international businesses, Westpac will consolidate its overseas operations into three branches: Singapore, London and New York. That means the big four bank will exit operations in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Mumbai and Jakarta.

“Westpac’s priority is to focus on its core Australian and New Zealand customers and to support them in areas where we have scale and capability,” said acting Westpac Institutional Bank (WIB) chief Curt Zuber.

“For WIB, the change will enable us to deliver products and services to customers more efficiently. Our ambition is to be the leading Australian and New Zealand-focused institutional bank for customers while delivering sustainable changes. We are fully committed to supporting employees, customers and partners through these changes.”

Westpac expects the move won’t have a significant impact on its cash earnings, and forecasts it will improve the group’s capital efficiency over time by reducing risk-weighted assets by over $5 billion.

Westpac follows in the footsteps of ANZ, which sold off its retail and wealth operations in Hong Kong, Singapore, China and Taiwan in 2016 as it sought to simplify its business and focus on institutional banking in Asia.

[Related: Westpac group drops floor rate ]

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