Westpac plans job cuts as it questions Reserve’s card fee reforms

Westpac is believed to be planning to cut another 500 staff and possibly as many as 800 by the end of September in a renewed effort to cut costs. Earlier this year, after a review by McKinsey & Co, Westpac cut 200 non-customer-facing positions. It's believed that McKinsey, in its report for the bank's project code-named Organisational Simplification, identified about 1,000 positions that could be removed.

This comes as Westpac released an open letter yesterday to the Reserve Bank questioning its proposed reforms to credit card interchange fees. The bank says that they will lead to a “buy now, pay now” regimen that will dent economic activity and potentially lose $100 million a year in after-tax profits to multinationals American Express and Diners Club.

But consumer groups have backed the reforms, which would reduce the fees and open the membership rules of the Visa and Mastercard credit-card schemes to other non-bank parties to improve competition.