ANZ has signed an implementation agreement with the Queensland government as part of its $4.9 billion bid to acquire Suncorp Bank.
The bank has pledged to establish a “major tech hub” in Brisbane, designed to strengthen the state’s local sector, generate career opportunities, and facilitate innovation.
Specifically, ANZ has committed to:
- establishing a new major tech hub in Brisbane for technology specialists in digital, cloud, and data. The bank aims to employ 700 people into the tech hub over a five-year period;
- working with Google to deliver cloud training to tech hub employees; and
- working with Queensland universities to drive research and training in technology.
“Research shows Queensland educates almost one-fifth of the nation’s IT students yet has less than one-seventh of the nation’s tech workers. ANZ’s tech hub will provide career opportunities to Queenslanders and will create jobs, lift wages, and boost productivity.
“The agreement aligns with the work already underway by both the Queensland and federal governments to build the capability of Queensland’s workforce, including providing a pipeline of technology talent for the future.”
However, ANZ’s commitments are conditional on the approval of its proposed acquisition of Suncorp Bank, with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) yet to make a final determination.
Just last week, both ANZ and Suncorp submitted formal responses to the ACCC’s statement of preliminary views.
The ACCC is exploring whether the deal would undermine competition across the banking sector. This includes considering:
- Whether the proposed acquisition of an established second-tier bank would result in the “potential loss of competitive constraint on the major banks”.
- Whether the deal would give rise to “coordinated effects in one or more relevant markets”.
- Whether the proposal would limit ANZ’s incentives to “compete vigorously” in one or more relevant markets.
- The impact of the proposed acquisition on the potential risk of unilateral effects arising in the supply of agribusiness banking, SME banking, mortgage lending, and retail deposits.
ANZ and Suncorp Bank have sought to allay these concerns, noting potential benefits for customers, including “increased scale to enable continual and more efficient investment in digital transformation and innovation”.
As such, the ACCC extended the consultation period, inviting further stakeholder feedback by 18 April 2023, with a final determination due on 28 July 2023.