Westpac to increase annual investment spending by 20%

Australian lender Westpac has unveiled plans to raise its annual investment spending by 20% to $1.3bn to focus on technology.

Westpac to increase annual investment spending by 20%

Speaking at a market update in Sydney, Westpac CEO Brian Hartzer said: “We are increasing our annual investment by around $200m to $1.3bn directed towards growth, service and efficiency initiatives. This means concentrating our spend on technology, on digital, on simplification, as we hone our focus on service.

“By investing in digital, we can use technology to redesign the customer experience, making things simpler, easier and better for our customers and our people.”

Hartzer said that the lender intends to accelerate its execution plans over the next three years, with plans to add over one million new customers, increase the number of products per customer, and target an expense to income ratio of below 40%.

He highlighted that technology will be used to boost operational efficiency and enhance customer experience in the bank, with a part of this strategy being the creation of a customer service hub.

The hub will be designed to integrate multiple technology systems to create a single view of the customer.

Hartzer further stated that the bank will continue to invest in its brand, which includes the roll out of the group’s new branches representing 55% of the network by 2018.

The new increased investment will be supported by lowering the bank’s expense growth run-rate to 2-3% annually, the CEO added.