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ANZ ‘confident’ over Suncorp deal

by Kate Aubrey12 minute read

Eager to enter the “fast-growing” Queensland market, ANZ’s chairman, Paul O’Sullivan, was hopeful the Suncorp acquisition would get the green light from regulators.

Addressing shareholders during its AGM on Thursday (15 December) in Adelaide, ANZ chairman Paul O’Sullivan, who also chairs Optus, said the bank was in a “good position” even after accounting for its plans to acquire Suncorp Bank.

ANZ’s proposed acquisition of Suncorp’s banking arm is now officially being considered by the competition watchdog, with a formal decision expected on 12 June 2023.

The transaction, if given the go-ahead, would include a cash sale of Suncorp Bank to ANZ for $4.9 billion ($1.3 billion of goodwill paid above net tangible assets), and includes its $47 billion of home loans, $45 billion in deposits and $11 billion in commercial loans.

“The board is confident this will provide ANZ with a platform for growth in the fast-growing Queensland market, where traditionally we have been under-represented,” Mr O’Sullivan said.


“The acquisition will be largely funded by the successful $3.5 billion equity capital raising we conducted earlier in the year.

“Importantly, the acquisition gives customers benefits of a wider range of products while allowing Suncorp Group to focus on its goal of being the best insurance company in Australia and New Zealand.”

Mr O’Sullivan said the bank continues “the systematic de-risking of the bank”, highlighted by the sale of its margin lending business to Bendigo & Adelaide Bank, and the completion of the formal separation of its wealth business to Insignia and Zurich in September.

In July 2022, ANZ announced the sale of its investment lending portfolio to Bendigo and Adelaide Bank valued at approximately $715 million, which has approximately 11,900 customer facilities.

Given the heightened risk of cyber security and scams seen this year, he said the bank was “committed to the strongest possible technology defence” and encouraged shareholders to talk to staff on how to protect themselves.

The ACCC estimated around half a billion dollars was lost already to scams in 2022.

“I think it’s fair to say, Australian banks are at the forefront of cyber and are investing heavily in our defences, however it’s also fair to say, as customers, we are all the first line of defence,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

Given this, the bank had implemented new artificial intelligence technology that averted tens of millions in scam transactions, as well as new behavioural biometrics capability which detected approximately 3,600 fraudulent applications last year, preventing nearly $40 million of identity fraud, he said.

After nine years of service, board member Graeme Liebelt would retire “at the conclusion of today’s meeting”, Mr O'Sullivan said thanking him for his “counsel and strategic insight”.

ANZ Plus to offer home loans

The bank’s digital savings and financial wellbeing platform, ANZ Plus, announced earlier this year, is showing “promising” signs, chief executive officer (CEO) Shayne Elliott said.

ANZ Plus is the group’s new retail bank and it’s expected that the app will eventually introduce increased functionality with existing products as well as a digital home loan.

There are now $2.3 billion of deposits held in the ANZ Plus accounts of 113,000 customers, one-third of whom are new to the bank.

“To put this into better perspective, those numbers have more than doubled since we announced our result at the end of October,” Mr Elliott told shareholders.

“The early signs are very promising, with strong deposit growth, and extremely positive customer ratings, particularly with those customers new to the bank.

“We will have the capability to accept a loan application from a mobile device and have it fully assessed, approved and settled without any manual intervention.

“To be clear, this will not be a fancy digital front end but paper-based back end like many in the market offer today, but a fully digital end-to-end experience from application all the way through to settlement.”

The app is expected to have the capability to accept a loan application from a mobile device and have it “fully assessed, approved and settled without any manual intervention”, he said.

“We still have more testing to do but will introduce the product to all Plus customers later in 2023, initially focused on the refinance market.”

[Related: Suncorp bank to be sold to ANZ]

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