Westpac Bank: Overview And Impact Of Recent Levy And Misconduct In Banking Sector

Overview of Westpac Bank

Westpac, one of Australia’s major banks have been executing its business aligning the commitment to sustainable business practices. The bank further establishes the conduct to attain one of the leading positions in Australia’s financial domain (Westpac.com 2018). For Westpac bank sustainability has been considered as a varied approach of exhibiting its efficient financial services and further managing risks as well as opportunities in a way which balances the long term requirements of all its stakeholders (Westpac.com.au 2018). The following paper evaluates the overview of the bank by further highlighting the factors which have been impacting its services and affecting the operations of the company.

Save Time On Research and Writing
Hire a Pro to Write You a 100% Plagiarism-Free Paper.
Get My Paper

Westpac Banking Corporation known as Australia’s first bank and oldest organization is identified as one of the major banking organizations operating in Australia and one of the largest banks in New Zealand. Westpac aims to provide a wide range of consumer, business along with institutional banking as well as wealth management services through a portfolio of financial services brands and businesses (Westpac.com.au 2018). Westpac offers diverse banking and financial services in Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific region as well as in other international regions. The bank primarily executes its operations through five vital divisions namely Consumer Bank, BT Financial Group, Westpac New Zealand, Westpac Institutional Bank and BT Financial Group (Westpac.com 2018). With revenue of approximately A$ 21.642 billion and a net income of over A$ 8.012 billion as estimated in 2015, the bank comprises over 34,500 employees in Australia and around 6000 in New Zealand and over 100 employees engaged in its Pacific division (Westpac.com.au 2018).

The Sydney-based head-quartered bank of Australia, Westpac further identified as Western Pacific bank has attained the prominence of being one of the four major banks of Australia. Its highly expanded portfolio of financial services has been segregated into two broad segments based on customer and institution orientation (Westpac.com.au 2017). Westpac has efficiently obtained high considerable reputation not only in Australia but has attained the prominent position in New Zealand as well. Westpac with its collaboration with AA (Global ATM Alliance) and several international banking institutions has been rated as AA-by Fitch and provides highly efficient services in foreign exchange domain (Westpac.com 2018). However recent reports reveal that for the first time the definite impact on Westpac has been witnessed due to the federal government’s new levy. The tax introduced in the mid of 2017 has been purposed to be relevant to liabilities and charges with the exclusion of hybrids as well as deposits below $255,000 and as Westpac has not exposed the information on deposits it has been critical for analysts to evaluate the extent of the impact. The first provision has been recognized as the Treasury that estimated an increase of $6.5 billion over 4 years which further accumulates around 2% of Westpac’s gross net revenue of around $15 billion (Murray et al. 2014). Furthermore, it has been estimated that the taxation will account for a greater proportion of the revenues of Westpac that would generate lower returns on its asset base and further on the liabilities which have been levied (Bakir 2017). Thus a bank like Westpac has the propensity to be impacted that comprises an approximate of 4% of net turnover (Westpac.com 2018).

Impact of Recent Government Levy

The annual reports released by Westpac revealed that this recently introduced taxation procedure has cost the bank and its profits for around $95 million that has been evaluated to be equivalent to two cents per share (Westpac.com 2018). Westpac further underwent a critical decision-making to pay the tax out of retained revenues rather than cutting shares or dividends. Further Hutchens (2017) revealed that the Board of Directors have taken into consideration a diverse range of determinants involving the effect of bank taxation in critically influencing the shares and dividends. Westpac with the introduction of new levy regulation has declared a comprehensively free dividend of around 94 cents per share that has been continuing since 2017 (Westpac.com 2018). However the federal government while declaring the May budget has introduced a taxation process on Australia’s four other major banks other than Westpac namely NAB, Commonwealth, Macquarie and ANZ as an approach of facilitating amendments in the budget deficit. Reports reveal that the vital 6 point taxation process has been relevant to Westpac’s liabilities. Bakir (2017) noted that earlier Westpac stated that this recently introduced levy would cost around $360 million over a full year. However it has further been reported in Reuters.com (2014) that the cost of $90 million for 3 months this tax would elevate up to $380 million that has been estimated to be equivalent to the original estimation.

Reports revealed by Clark et al. (2016) on Westpac’s performance has exposed that this levy has further posed greater degree of impacts on its performance metrics that revealed the declined margins by around 2 basis grades in the second half and around 1 basis point for the complete financial year. The disbursement or outflow to income ration further has risen by around 35 basis points in the second year and by 20 basis points for the full year (Murray et al. 2014). This expenditure of the bank further implied that the levy would reduce around 8 cents a dividend or around 4.5% of shares which is based on the organization’s full year of share of 188 cents as estimated till 2017. However it has been stated that Westpac has not put any significant effort to execute apportion of the expenditures between stakeholders and consumers or whether the bank will reduce employee expenditures or will execute a unification of the three vital approaches (Bakir 2017). As per the reports revealed by Westpac, all consumers can shift their trade or business to other smaller or less major banks if major banking organizations increase their cost due to this recently developed levy.

Save Time On Research and Writing
Hire a Pro to Write You a 100% Plagiarism-Free Paper.
Get My Paper

Misconduct in Banking Sector

Reports by Reuters.com (2014) revealed that Westpac has notified the Turnbull government’s arguable $6.5 billion bank taxation has cost the bank around $262 billion following to the taxation of 2017 and further noted the challenges the bank has been encountering. Westpac has further given notifications to the Australian Securities Exchange stating that the expenditure rate of this levy has been equivalent to about 9c per share on the basis of the bank’s full year share (Westpac.com 2018). The bank further notified that the cost of taxation could have experienced an increase as the government had only shared restricted information of levy resulting the Westpac’s estimation to be essentially preliminary. Westpac considered this new levy as a highly unconstructive public policy and an inadequate tax which primarily has targeted major banks which have already been recognized as the major taxpayers in Australia (Westpac.com.au 2018). Westpac has been on the warpath as contesting the Turnbull government for imposing its bank executives to sign confidentiality agreements prior to the facilitation of viewing the legislation. The levy with its application from 2017 has posed critical impacts on Westpac’s Full Year financial results. Furthermore it would result in a new expenditure rate of its approximate $67 billion post the levy (Westpac.com 2018).

In generalized terms, Westpac identifies that the Commission of Royal Commission into Misconduct in the banking sector reveals a propensity to distinguish that in regards of the reports revealed during Consumer Lending phase, the bank has made some criticalities which further has result to misconduct (Sharam et al. 2018). These misconducts in certain cases with critical outcomes occurred when consumers were being involved. Westpac Australia has been impacted with these incidents and accepts to have acted incompetently rather than preventing them at the time of its occurrence. Avkiran (2018) stated that the analysis by Commission has evaluated certain vital factors of principle in the complex arena of consumer lending which the Commission posed a desire to take into consideration as its work advances. The bank has further aimed in supporting the Commission to focus on these agreements as its work advances. It has been revealed that mortgage brokers are usually been compensated through the payment of both sincere as well as irregular commissions (Westpac.com.au 2018). This agreement has further developed in the domain of home lending market over as a vital approach to remunerate brokers for the effort that they execute and further to facilitate the coalition between consumer interests, the broker and the credit or finance suppliers (Salim, Arjomandi and Seufert 2016).

Compensation of Mortgage Brokers

Compensation of a sincere commission aims to remunerate the broker for their effort in effectively initiating the loans. Payment of an irregular commission has been purposed in order t support a continuing association between broker and the consumer (Business Insider Australia 2018). As negotiators or stockbrokers remuneration are paid to the broker by the bank instead of directly by the consumer it not only tends to result the expenditure of the broker to extend to the consumer over time, but further signifies that consumers’ incompetence to comprehend the impact of the brokers’ expenditure over its duration (Cummings and Durrani 2016). Westpac has been proficiently aiming to reduce the potentiality of the impacts which are being generated from the misconduct of agreements through a range of retrieving mechanisms in its brokers’ treaty. These have further implied that brokers have an enticement to comprehend financial position of customers and further propose loan products and amounts which are not apposite. These mechanisms further incorporate a retrieval of 100% of upfront commission if the loan has been closed within a year and around 50% if the credit or mortgage was closed within a year or two outside of closure due to certain unpredicted occurrence of situations (Stanley and Buckley 2016). This critical misconduct of treaty has led Westpac to pay volume-based inducements, bonus commissions or other incentive payments to stockbrokers which tends to condense the possibility of brokers of Westpac creating inaccurate loan suggestions leading to remuneration structures (Avkiran 2018).

With the rise of potential critical consumer outcomes related with adopting a sincere or direct mechanism under the current payment structures whereby the payment is captivated by Westpac as part of the generalized mortgage expenditures (Business Insider Australia 2018). Though Westpac has been engaged to the Combined Industry Forum (CIF) which incorporates industry bodies, lenders, stockbrokers, and introducer and consumer groups since last year and through that forum continues to seek to address the mechanisms to emphasize perceived compensation structure issues in the market. The MNC has been aligning current reform in the mortgage broker sector and is dedicated in efficiently executing each of the proposals. Westpac has efficiently distinguished these potential for conflicts but have been incompetent in considering the existing payment structures which essentially result in unconstructive consumer results (Avkiran 2018). Westpac being critically affected through these agreements has shown inclination of greater transparency as well as distinct disclosure of the commissions and remuneration paid to stockbrokers and the impact of these commissions and payment on the definite charge of the customer. The banking organization has been considering these factors as highly improbable that consumers would assume that the broker acts targeted for lenders instead of being an intermediary or controller (Salim, Arjomandi and Seufert 2016). Westpac has stated that the brokers’ autonomy from the lender is regarded as one of the factors which are highly critical to retain customer value about brokers as they tend to offer availability to services from diverse lenders.

Additional reports have revealed that Westpac being Australia’s major finance providers have encountered critical impacts during fund transferring processes to Somali. Thus it has led the company to exit international remittance business further creating critical challenges for immigrants to make any further money transferring (Stanley and Buckley 2016). The bank has been suggested the payment operators executing at Bell St Mall would secure their accounts to circumvent any their accounts following to the judgement posed by Federal Court. Reports revealed that the Treasury Department’s Operation Choke Point has organized banks in the US skittish related to the fund transferring with firms executing their operations in Somali which has further led reverberations across the world. Closing down of accounts has been identified as critical impacts on the bank’s services due to the treaty made with the Somali firms. Westpac’s inconsistent position due to these critical impacts has increased its incompetence of not being able to sustain the agreement (Avkiran 2018). The bank has further proposed that Somali along with other fund transfer operators that this closure has been stimulated by the raised perception of critical threats and risks related to the remittance provisions in the context of transforming global as well as local regulations and provisions along with Westpac’s own compliance necessities and demands. Though as per the view of Business Insider Australia (2018) the Federal Government’s Remittance Working Group has made some effective advancement but more time and scope has been required by the bank to attain a viable alternative for payments to the Somalia firms (Bakir 2017). However it has been noted that the Westpac through Australian Banking Association has been aligning their efforts in order to attain long term resolutions to sustain the flow of fund transfer.


To conclude it has been noted that Westpac increasingly has been utilizing information to ensign irregularities. As previously it has been evaluated that Westpac has been facilitated to act responsive to circumvent any forms of critical impacts towards the bank’s service and operations in the Australian banking sector. It has been noted that the diminutive section of consumers have not been utilizing their compensation accounts resulting to Westpac introduce significant recommendations to sustain its customer base.


Avkiran, N.K., 2018. Systemic Risk and Productivity of the Major Australian Banks. Theoretical Economics Letters, 8(11), p.2157.

Bakir, C., 2017. How do mega-bank merger policy and regulations contribute to financial stability? Evidence from Australia and Canada. Journal of Economic Policy Reform, pp.1-15.

Business Insider Australia 2018. Westpac has worked out how much the bank levy will cost shareholders. [online] Business Insider Australia. Available at: https://www.businessinsider.com.au/westpac-has-worked-out-how-much-the-bank-levy-will-cost-shareholders-2017-5 [Accessed 29 Aug. 2018].

Clark, M.R., McMillan, P.J., Anderson, O.F. and Roux, M.J., 2016. Stock management areas for orange roughy (Hoplostethus atlanticus) in the Tasman Sea and western South Pacific Ocean. New Zealand Fisheries Assessment Report, 19, p.27.

Cummings, J.R. and Durrani, K.J., 2016. Effect of the Basel Accord capital requirements on the loan-loss provisioning practices of Australian banks. Journal of Banking & Finance, 67, pp.23-36.

Dumay, J., 2016. A critical reflection on the future of intellectual capital: from reporting to disclosure. Journal of Intellectual capital, 17(1), pp.168-184.

Hutchens, G. 2017. Westpac says it cannot absorb bank levy and customers will have to help pay for it. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/may/22/westpac-says-it-cannot-absorb-bank-levy-and-customers-will-have-to-help-pay-for-it [Accessed 29 Aug. 2018].

Murray, D., Davis, K., Dunn, C., Hewson, C. and McNamee, B., 2014. Financial system inquiry.

Reuters.com (2014). UPDATE 1-Australia’s Westpac to quit remittance business by March 31. [online] U.S. Available at: https://www.reuters.com/article/australia-remittances-westpac/update-1-australias-westpac-to-quit-remittance-business-by-march-31-idUSL3N0U61NF20141222 [Accessed 29 Aug. 2018].

Salim, R., Arjomandi, A. and Seufert, J.H., 2016. Does corporate governance affect Australian banks’ performance?. Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, 43, pp.113-125.

Sharam, A., Moran, M., Mason, C., Stone, W. and Findlay, S., 2018. Understanding opportunities for social impact investment in the development of affordable housing.

Stanley, R.L. and Buckley, R.P., 2016. Protecting the west, excluding the rest: The impact of the AML/CTF regime on financial inclusion in the pacific and potential responses. Melb. J. Int’l L., 17, p.83.

Westpac.com.au 2017. New bank tax hits all Australians | Westpac. [online] Westpac.com.au. Available at: https://www.westpac.com.au/about-westpac/media/media-releases/2017/10-may/ [Accessed 29 Aug. 2018].

Westpac.com.au 2018. Approach to tax | Westpac. [online] Westpac.com.au. Available at: https://www.westpac.com.au/about-westpac/sustainability/our-positions-and-perspectives/approach-to-tax/ [Accessed 29 Aug. 2018].

Westpac.com.au 2018. Corporate and institutional banking | Westpac. [online] Westpac.com.au. Available at: https://www.westpac.com.au/corporate-banking/corporate-institutional/ [Accessed 29 Aug. 2018].

Westpac.com.au 2018. Westpac Group | Westpac. [online] Westpac.com.au. Available at: https://www.westpac.com.au/about-westpac/westpac-group/ [Accessed 29 Aug. 2018].