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Fresh from getting the go ahead for a $1.3 billion merger with ME Bank, the Bank of Queensland’s CEO has been telling politicians why the big four banks shouldn’t be allowed to fatten up any more from acquisitions.
George Frazis was answering questions in front of an economic standing committee when he was asked whether his bank’s merger would, in fact, reduce competition in Australia. Quite the reverse he argued (the deal will make the bank the 6th largest player, with just a few percent of the banking sector).
Frazis deftly answered the question as skillfully as any politician, by answering a question he hadn’t been asked.
“If you look at the four majors – we personally would not be supportive of any further consolidation if that can be avoided with the four majors,” he said.
To give him credit, he did actually answer the question with the next breath.
“Our combined group has in the order of about 3% of the banking sector, so we are still quite a small player,” he told the committee.
How the banks stack up (owner occupied mortgages)
Commonwealth Bank $317 billion
Westpac $237 billion
ANZ $175 billion
NAB $165 billion
BoQ $19 billion
MEBank $12 billion
The merger will be a large feather in the cap for the 54 year old ex-Westpac exec Frazis, who has called the deal a “defining acquisition”.