ANZ to review branches, eyes voluntary layoffs (Update 1)
25th Sep 08, 12:54pm
ANZ has told staff at its branches it will review its branch structure by November and is likely to reduce staff numbers through a hiring freeze and voluntary redundancies, documents obtained by interest.co.nz show. (Updated to include comments from ANZ) ANZ held meetings with branch staff this morning and detailed how over the counter transactions had fallen 23% to around 3 million per month since 2003 because of simpler processes, fewer forms, more use of call centres and more use of Internet banking. However, it said, branch staff numbers had been stuck at around 1,590, the documents show. Meetings were not held with National Bank staff and there was no indications in the documents that a similar review was being planned for The National Bank's branch network. ANZ said it would offer voluntary redundancy to staff, but would not guarantee that offers would be accepted or that staff who initially wanted redundancy would be 'locked in' to taking it if offered. The offers have to be made by October 8 and confirmations are scheduled for October 27. A timeline provided in documents to staff shows ANZ expects to complete the review by early November with those taking redundancy leaving the company by November 28. The documents do not indicate the potential level or cost of redundancies. Interest.co.nz calculates that if staff numbers were to be reduced by the same amount as the fall in over the counter transactions seen since 2003 then about 360 staff would be made redundant. ANZ said the use of casual staff and overtime would be kept to a minimum during the review, which meant unplanned absences would not necessarily be covered. Later, ANZ said in a statement it was conducting a review of customer activity in its branches. "Our goal is to align our service model with customer demand. The business of retail banking is changing," ANZ said. "Customers are utilising and adopting alternative and more convenient ways to conduct their banking transactions, such as over the Internet or by phone," it said. "As a result "“ and in line with general industry trends "“ we're seeing a continued decline in the volume of over-the-counter transactions in our branches." ANZ said its branches would always been a very important way for ANZ to work with its customers and customer service would always be its priority.