The Guardian 30 November, 2005

More job cuts at CBA

Staff cuts and not banking fees are the cause of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s woes, say the Financial Service Union (FSU). Following new chief executive Ralph Norris’ identification of poor customer satisfaction levels at a market briefing last week, FSU national assistant secretary Sharron Caddie says tens of thousands of job cuts over the last 13 years, 3,700 of which were under the current "Which New Bank" restructure, are the root of the problem.

"Loyal staff simply cannot hold the place together anymore", said Ms Caddie, adding that a change of management approach is needed.

Norris, who succeeded David Murray as chief executive in September, blamed the CBA’s decision to lift its bank fees and the weekly absence of around 1,000 frontline staff from their counters due to internal training for the poor result, a claim which Sharron Caddie dismisses.

"Cutting 20,000 jobs over 13 years, cutting branches to the bone and severely reducing the face to face regional business banking presence, retrenching experienced staff in successive business banking, branch and other restructures while leaving remaining staff to struggle with inadequate support is not the way to provide quality service to CBA customers", she said.

Norris also identified a decade-long "under investment" in the bank’s business lending for a fall in market share in that sector over the last three years from 15.2 percent to 13.4 percent.

"Mr Norris says his focus is now on training staff to use CommSee [CBA’s new IT system]", says Caddie. "But as this week’s revelations have shown, technology alone will not equal customer satisfaction."

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