July 29, 2020 / 12:36 AM / 8 days ago

UPDATE 1-Westpac to move 1,000 overseas call centre jobs to Australia

(Adds details of where the jobs will come from and CEO comment)

July 29 (Reuters) - Westpac Banking Corp said on Wednesday it will bring back 1,000 call centre jobs to Australia from overseas to meet growing demand for customer assistance due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Westpac said the roles will be spread out over regional and metro areas and will be filled by new and existing employees.

The process will take a year and will lead to a rise in costs of about A$45 million ($32 million) a year by the end of fiscal 2021.

“We will also be returning all dedicated voice roles to Australia to enhance the capacity of our existing call centres,” Chief Executive Officer Peter King said in a statement.

“This will mean when a customer calls us, it will be answered by someone in Australia.”

The move by Australia’s second-largest bank comes as the country’s unemployment rate shot up in June to a 22-year high of 7.4% as the pandemic forced large-scale layoffs across the country.

Since late last year, Westpac has been grappling with a major money-laundering scandal, where it is alleged to have enabled millions of illegal payments, including between known child sex offenders, drawing widespread scrutiny.

($1 = 1.3968 Australian dollars)

Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard Pullin

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