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ACCC rules out appeal over Suncorp Bank sale

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will not appeal against the decision to approve the $4.9 billion sale of Suncorp Bank to ANZ.

Commission Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb acknowledges disagreements with the Australian Competition Tribunal’s decision, but says she accepts the complexity of the matter means “different decision-makers can reasonably arrive at different conclusions”.

She notes the tribunal shared similar “fundamental concerns” about the deal’s impact on the home loan market and that “many of the public benefits claimed by ANZ and Suncorp were either not public benefits or were not specific to the proposed acquisition”.

“In reaching its decision, the tribunal largely adopted the ACCC’s legal and economic framework for assessing the merger and its impacts, although ultimately formed a different view about the significance of the proposed acquisition on competition,” Ms Cass-Gottlieb said.

She says the competition regulator will continue to monitor the banking market.

“Banking markets are critical for consumers and businesses,” Ms Cass-Gottlieb said. “The major banks have, for many decades now, been the same four banks with dominant market shares. For these reasons, the ACCC will continue to closely scrutinise these markets.”

Suncorp announced the sale of its bank in July 2022, with CEO Steve Johnston citing the need to be “singularly focused” on insurance.