ANZ says low jobless rate would mitigate job losses from Suncorp deal

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It was also possible that there would be branch closures, the bank said, but any public detriment would likely be minimal.

“For any branches that are rationalised, the assessment of impact on customers that may have used those branches ought to take into account digital services available to those customers, and any detriments would in any event be far outweighed by substantial public benefits of the proposed acquisition, including the efficiencies arising from those branch closures and improvements in digital offerings,” the bank stated.

The national secretary of the Financial Sector Union said it was clear from ANZ’s submission that the deal would have a detrimental effect on jobs and the numbers of branches in Queensland. It believes ANZ should maintain the Suncorp brand and keep its branches open.

“The major banks have all been cutting costs by reducing their branch network for a number of years and this merger will speed up that process unless the Queensland government and Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers impose service guarantees on the ANZ as part of the approval process,” said Julia Angrisano.

The union says 25 suburbs and towns in Queensland have both an ANZ and a Suncorp branch, and customers could expect branches in those places will be the first to go.

“This is bad for banking, bad for competition and bad for Queensland,” Angrisano said. “This deal raises serious competition issues.”


The ACCC will have to approve the deal before it goes ahead, and has invited submissions as it starts public consultation. It must be satisfied that either the transaction is unlikely to substantially lessen competition, or that the public benefits outweigh the public detriments.

ACCC chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb will not be participating in any decision-making after declaring a conflict of interest related to competition law advice she provided to Suncorp when she was a partner with Gilbert & Tobin. The ACCC will make a determination on June 12.

In its application, ANZ says that the deal would not lessen competition, but would allow it to better compete in a market where there is the constant, “credible threat” from new competitors such as neobanks and non-bank lenders and expansion from existing players.

In banking’s “technology arms race”, Suncorp Bank customers would receive better service under ANZ thanks to its investment in digital upgrades, the bank added.

For Suncorp, the banking takeover would mean it could focus on being a pure-play insurer at a time of volatility in reinsurance markets due to climate events and “at a time when the value of insurance to customers and the community has never been greater,” ANZ’s submission said.

Marnie Baker, the chief executive of Bendigo Bank, said the would be reviewing the information in the submission.

“If successful, this acquisition will concentrate market share and hand a commanding position in the Queensland market to a big four bank. It will further entrench Australia’s banking oligopoly, which invariably leads to suboptimal outcomes for customers and communities,” she said.

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