The head of mortgages says the bank is committed to helping brokers and customers navigate the road ahead
In a time of economic uncertainty, where unemployment is expected to peak at 9.25%, Westpac is bringing 1,000 jobs back to Australia. MPA spoke with managing director mortgages Anthony Hughes about the decision and how this will improve home lending and consumer finance.
Commitment to customer service
When the pandemic spurred the first lockdown across Australia, a surge in demand for customer service meant longer loan processing times for several mainstream lenders.
Despite this, most lenders, including Westpac, showed a commitment to their existing customers through the provision of hardship packages.
“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a fast-changing impact.”
“We’re committed to helping brokers and customers navigate the challenges ahead, including offering customers extended financial support and scaling-up resource to provide tailored assistance during this time.”
The impact on loan processing times
While a few different factors went into the lender’s decision to move 1,000 offshore jobs to Australia, the impact of COVID-19 on its overseas operations, and in particular, loan processing operations, played a big part.
“The first few months of the pandemic impacted our mortgage processing operations and we recognise that we needed to do better with our response times for customers and brokers.”
“That’s why we made the decision to bring back around 1,000 jobs to Australia from overseas, as a further step in transforming our operations, reducing the risk of offshore disruption, simplifying our processes, and supporting local employment.”
How the new roles will help
Expecting the implementation to take about 12 months, Hughes says the lender is planning for the new roles to support call centre operations as well as provide processing and operational assistance for things such as home lending and consumer finance.
“This includes returning all dedicated voice roles to Australia to enhance the capacity of our existing call centres.”
Westpac plans to fill the positions with new and existing employees across both metropolitan and regional areas; the lender anticipating an initial increase in cost of $45m per annum by the end of full year 2021.