7 May 2024

Westpac CEO on tough times for customers and combatting scams

From Nine To Noon, 9:06 am on 7 May 2024
Catherine McGrath, CEO of Westpac NZ

Photo: Westpac NZ/ RNZ

Westpac bank says many households and businesses are struggling with high interest rates and costs and the coming months will be challenging.

Westpac yesterday reported a $477 million net profit for the first half year - up 11 per cent - but lower than the previous six months.

Westpac Chief Executive, Catherine McGrath,  says a sluggish economy, weakness among key trading partners such as China and a tense geopolitical environment are all contributing to uncertainty across the economy.

Westpac has been contacting 51,000 home loan customers due to refix at higher interest rates, as well as more than 18,000 customers it has identified as at most risk of financial stress.

Catherine McGrath says the bank is also focussed on the growing issue of scams and fraud, which cost victims across the sector $200 million last year.

She says confirmation of payee technology will be rolled out later this year which will help prevent losses.