Bank boss de­fends off­shoring

Townsville Bulletin - - Weekend Extra / Business -

ST Ge­orge’s Bank chief ex­ec­u­tive Gail Kelly stood in front of share­hold­ers at her com­pany’s an­nual gen­eral meet­ing to de­fend her bank’s de­ci­sion to send 76 com­puter ser­vices jobs to In­dia.

‘‘We’re com­pet­ing in an en­vi­ron­ment of very strong ma­jor bank play­ers,’’ Ms Kelly told the meet­ing in Syd­ney.

‘‘If we don’t re­main com­pet­i­tive, St Ge­orge won’t ex­ist.’’

While St Ge­orge’s em­ploy­ees may have been frus­trated at how a big­ger ri­val such as the Com­mon­wealth Bank was able to back away from plans this year to send back-of­fice jobs off­shore, an­a­lysts say the re­lent­less pres­sure to boost profit mar­gins and Aus­tralia’s tight labour mar­ket means the other banks will have to re­visit the is­sue

‘‘If the banks say they are not do­ing it now, it’s shelved rather than can­celled,’’ said War­ren Green, Deloitte’s co-leader for fi­nan­cial ser­vices.

Deloitte pub­lished a sur­vey last year show­ing that 57 per cent of re­spon­dents in the fi­nan­cial sec­tor were ei­ther in­volved, or plan­ning to be­come in­volved, with off­shoring jobs.

For those com­pa­nies which sent some of their op­er­a­tions to low-wage na­tions, such as In­dia, China or the Philip­pines, sav­ings could run to be­tween 20 per cent and 40 per cent of com­pa­ra­ble Aus­tralian costs, Mr Green said.

Com­mon­wealth Bank of Aus­tralia chair­man John Schu­bert told share­hold­ers at the an­nual gen­eral meet­ing in Novem­ber that the bank had eval­u­ated send­ing ser­vice jobs over­seas, but chose not to pro­ceed.

The Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Union (FSU) wants to keep the pres­sure on the banks, and this month started a ra­dio cam­paign to co­in­cide with the launch of a union web­site warn­ing of the risk of data theft when banks sent some of their op­er­a­tions off­shore. The union is call­ing for new laws to re­quire the banks to tell cus­tomers when per­sonal in­for­ma­tion is be­ing sent off­shore.

Gail Kelly

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.