- Westpac has decided to close the doors of its seven branches as of next month.
- On Tuesday, Westpac announced that the ICCC has denied authorisation to the $420 million sale of Westpac Fiji and Westpac's 89.91% stake in Westpac Bank PNG Limited – to Kina Securities Limited.
- At around 3:00 PM AEST, the stock WBC was trading a tad higher at AU$25.990 per share.
ASX-listed Australian Banking giant Westpac Banking Corp (ASX:WBC) is trading strong on the ASX. If one compares Westpac's yesterday's closing price to what it was on the same day last year, we see that the returns offered by the Group have increased by over 54% in 12 months.
As per reports, Westpac has decided to close the doors of its seven branches as of next month. These branches include - Victoria's Burwood, Newcomb, Carnegie, and Preston branches, Tasmania's Westpac branch in Sorrell, and Bank of Melbourne branches in Clayton & Port Melbourne.
The Victoria branch will be closed owing to the sixth lockdown in the State. As per the reports, the closures are in response to change in consumer habits as Australian citizens have increasingly switched to digital and cashless banking options, which has resulted in reduced foot traffic to bank branches. Noticeably, earlier this year, the bank had shut down its 48 bank branches across the country in a major branch network restructure.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Westpac announced that the ICCC has denied authorisation to the $420 million sale of Westpac Fiji and Westpac's 89.91% stake in Westpac Bank PNG Limited – to Kina Securities Limited (ASX:KSL). This means that Westpac can no longer sell its PNG and Fiji banking operations to Kina. The deal announced in December last year was part of Westpac's strategy to simplify its operations and target on banking in Australia & New Zealand. The challenges in the Pacific operations involved higher Operational risks, including money laundering exposure and lower returns.
The disapproval of the Australian competition regulator to the sale of Westpac's PNG and Fiji banking operations is a big setback to Westpac's exit strategy in the pacific as it has made it necessary for the banking giant to continue to manage the network.