Card reforms not so bad for Westpac

Westpac says that the Reserve Bank's credit card reforms had so far cost the bank less than originally estimated and sees negligible future impact. The bank said the halving of interchange fees had seen its revenue cut $15 million in 2003-04, compared to the $25-$40 million original estimate. Westpac CFO Phil Chronican said a revamp of the credit card business had recouped some losses. Loyalty points were diluted and annual card fees were increased in response to the RBA's reforms. Partnerships were also set up with American Express and Virgin Money to generate fee income. Meanwhile, Westpac's share of the home loan market fell to 17.7 per cent in January from 17.9 in September 2003.