Today I am announcing my approval of two proposed mergers of customer‑owned community banks under the Financial Sector (Shareholdings) Act 1998, the Financial Sector (Transfer and Restructure) Act 1999, and the Banking Act 1959.
The first is between Heritage Bank and People’s Choice Credit Union, and the second Greater Bank and Newcastle Permanent Building Society.
The proposed mergers are expected to support competition and innovation in the banking sector by allowing these customer‑owned banks to better compete with the larger players and deliver higher quality products and services to members.
Customers from the banks will vote on the proposals as part of their annual general meetings. The banks’ mutual ownership structures will be maintained following the mergers.
My decision follows a thorough assessment of whether the proposed mergers are in Australia’s national interest. This included consideration of stability, efficiency and the need for a financial system that is competitive and benefits Australian households, businesses and communities.
This decision follows advice provided by Treasury and financial regulators, including the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).