In a statement to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), ANZ said that its proposed acquisition of Suncorp is “not a material competitive constraint,” and that this would be the case even after the transaction pulls through.
The statement comes following the release of preliminary views by the ACCC saying that the information provided to it was inadequate to support the assertion that the proposed merger between ANZ and Suncorp would not result in less market competition.
In a report from Mortgage Business, ANZ chief executive Shayne Elliot said that the evidence provided by the major bank shows that there is a benign impact on competition from the merger, and that Australia’s banking sector is dynamic and very competitive.
Elliot also said that Queensland is thriving, and the banks see strong opportunities for future growth and prosperity.
“The proposed acquisition will not substantially lessen competition and is in the public interest,” Elliot said. “We’re excited to invest in the opportunities ahead.”
ANZ further stated that Suncorp is “not a particularly important source of competition” in terms of pricing, products, innovation, or customer service. The ACCC is in the process of investigating several factors for the proposed acquisition, including the potential impact on lending rates, deposit fees and charges, consumer choice, service levels, as well as innovation.
Another element of the ACCC’s probe comes from the areas of competition between ANZ and Suncorp Bank in several regions, particularly in Queensland and north New South Wales; these two regions are prominent in that there is more geographic overlap for these two areas between the two banks.
The report from ANZ also said that it does not consider Suncorp a competitor that it would give any consideration to amongst a wider range of other competitors, and that its removal as an established second-tier bank will not have a substantial negative effect on the competition.
“The ACCC should be satisfied that the proposed acquisition will not have the effect, or likely effect, of substantially lessening competition, due to the ‘removal’ of Suncorp Bank as an independent and established ‘second tier’ bank, or the removal of the possibility that Suncorp Bank may merge with another second-tier bank,” ANZ said.
ANZ’s acquisition of Suncorp is expected to be completed in the second half of 2023.
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