Some banks are OK with cash apparently

Something different again this week: Following on from the disastrous CBA statement last week, I read with interest the statement by Westpac CEO Peter King ASX: WBC this week. 

“Westpac customers can now visit any Westpac, St George, BankSA or Bank of Melbourne branch across Australia for their cash transactions following the rollout of new technology which connects our branch network across the country.”

The upgrade means customers can now use more locations across Australia, with any St.George, Bank of Melbourne or BankSA customer able to make cash transactions in a Westpac branch, and vice versa.”

“The technology roll-out builds on Westpac Group’s ongoing program of branch co-locations, where two Group brands in one area are brought together under one roof in key locations. Westpac has opened more than 80 co-locations across Australia since 2021, providing a long-term commitment to serving local customers and communities.”

This means that they did close branches but justified as duplicates in terms of branding. Admittedly if they used ‘consolidation’ which is probably the most honest term to use, it is the wrong word in marketing as that arguably that implies closures, so they avoided the word all together. However they did close branches but as they claimed, they had multiple branches…

They also said that using cash is OK and will support it. This shows that the ‘Australia is going cashless’ headlines are probably a statement pushed by the banks losing cashed up customers Eg. the CBA and narrative of ‘corporate totalitarianism’ biased media organisations. The CBA has the highest home loan books and in the climate of relative high interest rates, their customers literally don’t have the cash to splash. 

My conclusions: Westpac is lead by a competent CEO who appears to understand contemporary issues in 2023 and how to word things. His marketing department is very good at their job. Most of all they have avoided revealing what their true intentions are in terms of fees and costs. How they get out of this one will be interesting to watch. 

The statement also implies that Westpac bank have updated their technology to support their operations as a bank rather than the clearly backward Commonwealth Bank Australia who still do not know how to use technology and require more investment and costs to merely catch up – and want to be an App developer than a bank. Perhaps leadership and management changes are required here? 

Of course not all is perfect and the title of Westpac’s media release is not quite correct and errs on the side of Click bait : 

“Westpac expands branch access for customers”

Revisit Part 1