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Westpac Background

Westpac Background

Westpac Banking Corporation is an Australian financial institution that has the distinction of being the first and oldest bank in the Country. Westpac’s founding can be traced to 1817 where it was incorporated as the Bank of New South Wales. The bank grew in the 1800s due to factors such as the Gold fever, with the growth extending to the 1900s despite factors like economic depression and World Wars (Westpac, 2017). The company rebranded to become the Westpac Banking Corporation in 1982 after the then Bank of New South Wales took control of the Commercial Bank of Australia (Westpac, 2016). Further acquisitions allowed Westpac to become one of the four biggest banks in Australia. For example, Westpac acquired St George Bank in 2008, a bank that was the fifth largest in Australia (Westpac 2017).

Westpac’s vision is to be a global service leader that allows its customers, community, and people to achieve prosperity and growth. The company’s mission is to earn superior returns for shareholders, become a leader in the community, build lasting relationships with customers, and create an environment that attracts the best talent (Westpac, 2016). Westpac has successfully acquired a core market that covers Australia, New Zealand and the near Pacific and it seeks to generate organic growth in these markets and enhance customer relationships. The overall strategic priorities are service leadership, performance discipline, targeted growth, digital transformation, and workforce revolution (Westpac, 2016).

When it comes to products, Westpac offers a diverse range of services through five divisions that serve approximately 13 million customers. The five units target different segments of the market for financial services. The Consumer Bank group serves the retail part of the market through more than 1400 branches and 3800 ATMs while the Business Bank division targets small and medium sized enterprises (Westpac, 2017). Westpac’s services also extend to wealth management and the provision of insurance through the BT Financial Group (Westpac, 2016). The fourth division is the Westpac Institutional Bank which serves the distinct needs of larger organisations. These include corporations, government agencies, and commercial firms that conduct business in the region. Finally, the bank’s history shows that the Bank of New South Wales established operations in New Zealand (Westpac, 2017). In keeping with this heritage, Westpac’s fifth division is the New Zealand division which offers banking, wealth management, and insurance services to individuals, businesses, and institutions in New Zealand (Westpac, 2016).

As a publicly listed deposit taking institution, Westpac has both domestic and foreign individual and institutional shareholders. The Chairman of the Board is Lindsay Maxsted while the CEO is Brian Hartzer. In 2016, Westpac employed over 32,000 employees in Australia, with the bank’s operations generating over $37 Billion in sales and other revenue (IBISWorld, 2016). Regarding profitability, the firm earned $7.45 billion in the 2016 financial year despite the challenging market environment (News Corp Australia, 2016). The profitability has been consistent in the past five years, indicating that Westpac’s business and operational strategies have been successful.


2016 Westpac Group Annual Report. (2016). Westpac Group. Retrieved 13 August 2017 https://www.westpac.com.au/content/dam/public/wbc/documents/pdf/aw/ic/2016_Westpac_Annual_Report

About us. (2017). Westpac Banking Corporation. Retrieved 13 August 2017 https://www.westpac.com.au/about-westpac/westpac-group/company-overview/about-us/

Westpac Banking Corporation. (2016). IBISWorld. Retrieved 13 August 2017 https://www.ibisworld.com.au/australian-company-research-reports/financial-insurance-services/westpac-banking-corporation-company.html

Westpac profit slides seven per cent. (2016). News Corp Australia. Retrieved 13 August 2017 http://www.news.com.au/finance/business/banking/westpac-profit-slides-seven-per-cent/news-story/cf71af44ce79a5ae061853b7b3805881