Commonwealth Bank chief executive Ralph Norris has moved to reassure WA bank customers and shareholders that it will retain the Bankwest business as a standalone bank.
"I would like to also reassure our BankWest customers that the BankWest brand, which is iconic in WA, is here to stay and will compete alongside our Commonwealth Bank branches," he told shareholders at the company's annual general meeting in Perth today.
He said CBA was financially strong with favourable funding positions, conservative provisioning and capital ratios significantly above regulatory target levels.
The strong capital position had allowed CBA to buy BankWest and St Andrews at the end of last year at a discount to book value, increasing the bank's retail presence in WA and its business banking capability.
Mr Norris said the priorities for 2009/10 remained improving customer service and business banking while pursuing profitable growth.
The bank's target was to become the number one ranked bank for customer service by June 2010, he said.