(Updates with investor comment in third paragraph.)
March 7 (Bloomberg) -- Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., Australia’s third-largest bank by market value, plans to cut about 50 jobs in institutional and international banking as lenders trim costs amid weak credit demand.
ANZ advised staff late last month about the eliminations mainly in Sydney and Melbourne, spokesman Paul Edwards said in an e-mailed statement. The reductions will help ANZ’s institutional bank unit boost capital efficiency and adapt to pressure on margins as the economy slows, he said.
Australian banks have relied on staff and pay cuts to protect profit as they confront the weakest demand for home lending since 1977. In 2012, ANZ announced plans to shed 1,000 jobs by September of that year as part of Chief Executive Officer Michael Smith’s efforts to offset slumping loan growth.
“Costs and jobs are key areas of focus for banks at the present time when growth is weak,” said Angus Gluskie, managing director at Sydney-based White Funds Management, which oversees more than $350 million in assets. “There is more to play out on it. It is a two to three year program.”
The latest reductions are a combination of managerial and administrative roles and also reflect a merger of the international and institutional banking divisions last year, Edwards said.
Shares of ANZ declined 1.5 percent to A$28.78 as of 2:41 p.m. in Sydney trading. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.4 percent.
ANZ Bank said last month that it will send 70 back-office jobs at its wealth unit from Sydney to Bangalore, India.
Unaudited profit at the Melbourne-based bank fell 20 percent to A$1.36 billion ($1.39 billion) in the three months ended Dec. 31, company figures showed last month, as margins were squeezed at its New Zealand and international businesses.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the nation’s biggest lender by market value, will freeze base salaries for people making A$150,000 or more in its institutional banking and markets division, an internal memo showed in July.
Westpac Banking Corp., eliminated more than 500 roles early last year. National Australia Bank Ltd., is scheduled to brief investors on its technology program and its cost management plans on March.13.
ANZ’s institutional and international banking encompasses products and service for large corporate clients including syndication, advisory, foreign exchange and risk management.
--Editors: Russell Ward, James Gunsalus