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BankWest throws down the gauntlet

BankWest throws down the gauntlet

(13 July 2007 - Australia) BankWest has thrown a large cat among the pigeons in Australia's banking industry by announcing it will open 160 new branches on the east coast over the next three to four years. The bank said it will be the largest branch network program ever rolled out from scratch in Australia with retail and business cutomers the focus of the bank's plans in NSW, Victoria and Queensland.

To support a roll out on this scale, BankWest will invest A$380 million in the project and create up to 3000 new jobs, a 60 percent increase on the bank's existing workforce.

The bank, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of UK giant HBOS, said it is recruiting staff from a mix of banking and retail backgrounds.

BankWest are attempting to emulate the growth it has achieved in Ireland and has appointed the former head of its Irish branch expansion program Ian Corfield as its new chief executive for Retail in Australia.

The bank aims to platform its success on value for money and customer convenience; and the fact that a large number of customers are dissatisfied with the Big Four domestic banks.

HBOS Australia chief executive David Willis said the bank's initiative offered customers a real alternative to the Big Four and a better deal.

He said prospects for the bank were very good as Australia was one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

Willis said the bank was in a position to move into a new phase after its success over the past four years.

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