Westpac has decided to move 1,000 call centre jobs from overseas back to its home market in Australia to enhance customer support.

The lender cited the Covid-19 pandemic as the reason and admitted that it has failed to keep up with the growing demand for customer assistance.

All the positions will be moved back to Australia over the next year.

Westpac CEO Peter Kings said that a surge in demand for customer assistance when pandemic started means that “at times our response rates have been too slow.”

King said all the voice roles will return to the home market as Covid-19 has led to “changing work patterns” and because the bank has revamped its IT infrastructure in recent years.

King said: “When a customer calls us, they will be answered by someone in Australia.

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“This has partly been made possible due to the extraordinary shift in work patterns during the Covid-19 pandemic and upgrade to our technology infrastructure in recent years, enabling teams to work effectively at home or in other locations.”

Last month, Westpac HR team member Su Duffey declared that the work from home (WFH) hub will remain in place.

Duffey also argued that staff could move to smaller sites widespread across the country rather than into giant buildings in big cities.

The new roles are expected to become part of this distributed workforce after Covid-19 ends, and will be filled by new and existing employees.

These employees will work in call centre roles as well as provide processing and operational support to home lending and consumer finance.

The move is expected to bolster the bank’s productivity. However, initially, the move will increase the costs by around $45m per annum.

Westpac will also continue to work with partners overseas in functions including tech and operations.