CFA submission cautions against ANZ proposed acquisition of Suncorp Bank

Consumers’ Federation of Australia has made a submission to the ACCC consultation, ANZ proposed acquisition of Suncorp Bank.

The CFA considers that the proposed acquisition is likely to substantially lessen competition for retail banking services in Australia. We also consider the likely detriments of the proposed acquisition exceed any likely public benefits.

CFA’s submission notes that ANZ’s proposed acquisition will materially increase the risk of coordinated conduct in a number of markets by removing a key competitor, Suncorp Bank. This is because, as described in the submission, the big four banks operate largely as one, with respect to pricing and product differentiation. CFA comments that this acquisition represents a ‘tipping point’—if approved, there will be no limits on further bank mergers, resulting in an even more concentrated Australian banking market with only the big four ‘acting as one’. This will result in increased bank profits, more expensive banking products, as well as poorer and less accessible services, to the detriment of Australian consumers.

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