‘Efficiency gains’ in Bendigo Bank’s future

CHANGING TIMES: Bendigo Bank's workforce reduced by 107 full time equivalent roles in the six months to December 31. Redundancy costs amounted to $3 million in that period.

CHANGING TIMES: Bendigo Bank's workforce reduced by 107 full time equivalent roles in the six months to December 31. Redundancy costs amounted to $3 million in that period.

RELATED: Bendigo Bank reports $209 million net profit

Bendigo Bank spent $3 million on staff redundancies in the first half of this financial year, up $1.2 million on the previous corresponding period.

The bank shed 107 full time equivalent roles in the six months ending on December 31.

“Some of these roles were redundancies, while others were vacancies not replaced,” bank spokeswoman Silvana Arena said. 

The reduction amounted to 165 fewer full time equivalent staff in the first half of this financial year than the six months ending December 31, 2015.

“We continually review our business to ensure we are meeting the changing needs of our growing customer base,” Ms Arena said.

“Demand from our customers is driving new products and ways of interaction, and the nature of the way we operate will therefore continue to evolve.

“That will necessarily result in changes being made and, from time to time, a very small number of roles across the group will be impacted.”

In its interim results presentation, the bank detailed a ‘focus on efficiency’ that had reduced the expense to income ratio from 56.4 per cent to 54.3 per cent in six months.

Operating expenses are down 0.4 per cent to $445.7 million, from $447.5 million in the first half of the previous financial year.

“We always work with our people to ensure they have valuable roles that also meet our customers’ needs and we support our people to identify potential employment opportunities across the group,” Ms Arena said.

The bank reported a net profit after tax of $209 million, up 0.1 per cent. 

Underlying cash earnings were up 0.4 per cent, to $224.7 million, while cash earnings per share were down 1.8 per cent to 48 cents. 

The final fully franked dividend was the same as that of the prior half year period, at 34 cents.

Managing director Mike Hirst attributed the efficiency gains to the bank’s focus on making it easier for customers to do business.

“The investment we’ve made in Project Reset and new technology will continue to provide a material contribution to efficiency gains,” he said. 

Project Reset is an internal Bendigo Bank program which assesses the efficiency of the group’s operations.

The bank returned about $16.5 million to Australian communities in 2015-16.

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