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Westpac invests $40 million in regional branch network


19 March 2015

  • $40 million investment over next two years
  • More than half of regional branch network upgraded by 2020
  • Investment campaign to give regional Australia a state of the art branch network.

Westpac has today announced a new investment program in its regional branch network as part of its continuing commitment to regional and rural Australia.

The bank said over the next two years it planned to invest $40 million in upgrading its network across regional Australia to new state-of-the art Bank Now branches with further investment to follow giving customers access to the highest quality branch network, service and advice.

As part of the new approach to banking, the traditional screens and counters that separated customers from staff will be scrapped and replaced with an open plan lay-out which combines a mix of self-service banking options and tailored advice and support from specialist banking staff.

Westpac's General Manager Retail Banking, Gai McGrath, said Westpac was giving customers from regional Australia more choice as to how they bank.

"To date, we have invested $23 million in state of the art Bank Now branches across rural and regional Australia and I'm pleased to announce today that we plan to invest another $40 million over the next two years to make sure our rural and regional customers across Australia have access to the best possible expertise." 

"Bank Now branch facilities are available 24 hours thanks to our new Smart ATMs which allow customers to deposit, withdraw and exchange cash, coins and cheques at any time of the day or night."

The upgrades also see the continued roll out of Westpac's Connect Now video conferencing service that will be available in all regional and rural branches by the end of 2016. Connect Now facilitates real-time conversations with a dedicated team of banking specialists giving customers in regional Australia access to the highest quality advice and service.

Ms McGrath said further investment was planned after 2017, which would see more than half of the regional branch network upgraded by 2020.

"We want to give regional customers even more reasons to choose Westpac as their bank and this is a clear way we can demonstrate our commitment to regional and rural Australia."

Ms McGrath said regional customers also had the benefit of digital banking services with more than 2.7 million customers nationally using Westpac Live online banking, while almost half of all customers had taken to using mobile banking services. 

Over the past two years the bank has invested over $100 million in 80 new style Bank Now branches and will transform a third of the 685-strong Westpac network across Australia by 2017.

The highlights of the new branches include:

  • 24 hour seven day a week self-service banking with Smart ATMs that accept deposits through cash, coins and cheques. As well as cash withdrawals, customers will also be able to exchange notes for coins in the new foyer area that will enable access 24/7.
  • A service reception area where customers will be welcomed by a staff member who, with colleagues, will handle simple enquiries and transactions at side-by-side computer pods. 
  • Branch will feature a lounge-style area where customers can check their account balances, transfer money between accounts and pay bills using Westpac mobile banking on dedicated tablets provided. 
  • Customers will be able to browse a wide range of Westpac information on dedicated digital touch screens which will also enable the information to be emailed without having to print out. 
  • For those customers wanting more detail about their specific financial needs such as arranging a mortgage, a personal loan, creating and building wealth and planning for the future, there will be a mix of semi-private areas and offices for those discussions. 
  • The offices will provide video conferencing capabilities for meetings and conversations with Westpac's specialist teams of advisers, planners and financial experts based in other locations.