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Treasurer to ‘carefully’ weigh Suncorp bank sale

Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers says he will “carefully and methodically” consider whether Suncorp’s sale of its bank to ANZ is in the national interest. 

The Australian Competition Tribunal last week opened the way for ANZ to acquire the bank, but the deal needs to be cleared in Queensland and requires federal approval under the Financial Sector (Shareholdings) Act (FSSA). 

“As is the case with tribunal decisions like these, applicants and other interested parties can now seek a review by applying to the Federal Court,” Dr Chalmers said. 

“Once I receive ANZ’s FSSA application and Treasury advice, I will carefully and methodically consider whether the proposed acquisition is in the national interest under the FSSA and then announce a decision in due course.” 

As reported in a Breaking News bulletin last week, the tribunal last Tuesday overturned an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission decision to block the proposed $4.9 billion sale of the bank to ANZ. 

Suncorp announced the transaction in July 2022, but the competition watchdog raised concerns over impacts in the home loan, SME and agribusiness banking markets. It was also not convinced of the likely public interest benefits, including from Suncorp focusing on insurance.  

The tribunal cleared the deal in all three banking market areas, and backed the arguments of ANZ and Suncorp on the public interest considerations.