Westpac to slash lending to coal and oil by 2030

Bright red W for Westpac signage
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Westpac has unveiled plans to reduce lending to coal, oil and gas companies by nearly a quarter by 2030, joining its peers in an initiative to slash emissions, according to Reuters.

The country’s third-largest lender by market value has tracked rivals National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank of Australia in tabling a detailed plan after they decided to cut lending to the oil and gas sector.

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NAB implemented a $2.4 billion cap on lending to oil and gas companies while CBA had pledged to halve emissions by 2030.

With weather-related disasters on the rise, costing lives and trillions in losses, green groups are increasingly fighting coal projects around Australia, calling on banks not to provide loans citing potential damage to the climate.

“By releasing sector targets for 2030 in emissions-intensive industries, we’re setting clear markers and will help our customers transition,” Westpac CEO Peter King said.

Westpac aims for a 23 per cent reduction in scope one, two and three absolute-financed emissions by 2030 from firms involved in oil and gas exploration, extraction or drilling.

The Sydney-based company will also stop dealing with companies with more than 5 per cent of their revenue coming directly from thermal coal mining by the same year.

The lender joined the Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA), which includes peers NAB and CBA as members, convened by the United Nations.

Related article: Ensuring just transitions on Australia’s net zero journey

The NZBA is a coalition of nearly 100 banks representing almost half of the world’s banking assets. The members commit to aligning their lending and investment portfolios with net-zero emissions by 2050.

In a separate statement, the lender said it would approve mortgages in as little as 10 minutes by the end of the year, competing against other banks that have used fast turnaround times as a way to lure borrowers.

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