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Bank positions itself to ride economic upswing

15 July 2009 |Media centre

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank today announced measures to ensure the company is able to fully capitalise on opportunities presented by a recovering economy.

Bank spokesman Owen Davies said the slowing economy and a flattening of demand for credit meant the bank currently had excess staff capacity.

“We need to take some short-term measures that provide us with some flexibility in our cost base – to reduce costs in the short-term but retain as much capability as we can to accommodate the growth that will come our way as the economy recovers.”

Staff have also been requested to take 10 days unpaid leave over the next 12 months, with the salary reduction to be spread evenly across the year.

“The scheme is voluntary, but we anticipate a strong take-up,” Mr Davies said.

“All businesses – not just banks – face these pressures and have responded in different ways to adjust their costs to fit uncertain revenues.

“Some have cut their services, some have reduced employee numbers, some have sent jobs offshore and others have asked their employees for their support in order to position them to grow as recovery comes. Bendigo and Adelaide Bank wants to be in that last category.

“Demand for our banking models, distribution channels and products is strong and we can expect renewed and vigorous growth as our funding capacity and markets recover.

“But in the short term, uncertainty remains, and we need to ensure we remain responsive and flexible to changing market conditions. In particular, we need to manage our costs according to the income we receive.

“Bendigo and Adelaide Bank has a committed staff and we have every confidence staff will respond well to ensure the bank can take full advantage of the economic recovery.

“We have created 4000 jobs over the past decade and we believe Australians will agree with the way in which we have responded to the downturn.

“Like us, a lot of firms have now worked out there is a huge cost in the traditional response, which is a redundancy program.

“That leaves companies unable to take advantage of opportunities when as things turn around. They also face costs in hiring and training new staff.

“Our program represents the next generation of thinking around managing expenses.”

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