Brian Hartzer's one-word edit to Westpac's vision statement says a lot about the changes in banking

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A one word change to Westpac’s vision statement has clearly marked the direction Brian Hartzer wants to take Australia’s second largest bank.

Hartzer, who replaced the high profile Gail Kelly as CEO, says the change, to a document which hasn’t been touched for years, is about increasing business with a focus on servicing the customer.

The vision statement for Australia’s oldest bank, with the added word “service”, now reads:

To be one of the world’s great service companies, helping our customers, communities and people to prosper and grow.

Australia’s banks are under pressure from smaller, technology-savvy companies increasingly trying to take a piece of the rich financial services sector.

And while Westpac has not been directly affected, a series of financial planning scandals has also dulled the former solid-as-a-rock image of banks.

Hartzer’s change is about gaining and keeping business in an increasingly competitive environment.

He told an analyst briefing today that the service revolution is about making life easier for customers.

“Customers want to deal with products and brands that they trust,” he said. “Now we’ve added the word ‘service’ to this statement. It’s a small but important change because it reflects the way the Westpac group can continue to thrive in a challenging environment.

“By aspiring to be one of the world’s great service companies, we’ll give more customers reasons to join us.”

Westpac today posted a flat and below expectation first half cash profit of $3.778 billion. Market analysts had forecast $3.88 billion from Australia’s second largest bank. Revenue was up 2% to $9.997 billion. Statutory net profit was $3.609 billion.

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