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Banking & finance briefs: ANZ to marry Standard Chartered? Rob Alloway battles on

Banking & finance briefs: ANZ to marry Standard Chartered? Rob Alloway battles on

1. Asian merger for ANZ? Analysts at Citigroup are suggesting the ultimate end game for ANZ CEO Mike Smith’s Asia push could be a merger with Standard Chartered. Citigroup suggests that because their market capitalizations are close a merger of equals would be possible, The Australian Financial Review reports. Combining Standard Chartered’s emerging markets footprint with ANZ’s established Australian business could make for a compelling hook-up, the newspaper suggests.

2. Key coy on Kiwibank - Unsurprisingly, Prime Minister John Key has declined to repeat a pre-election assurance that Kiwibank will never be sold. Questioned in Parliament by Progressive leader Jim Anderton, Key said it wasn’t the Government’s policy to sell assets this term, The Dominion Post reports. Finance Minister Bill English recently floated the possibility of a partial sale of Kiwibank.

3. Allied Farmers battles on - Allied Farmers, which acquired Hanover Finance’s loan book last December, is taking legal action against real estate developers reneging on loans worth millions of dollars, the NZ Herald reports. Allied had taken a number of causes of actions and made demands for payment against developers for loans on properties both in New Zealand and in Fiji.

"We are using all means possible to make recovery from delinquent borrowers who seem determined to hide from their financial responsibilities," they said.

"I have a team of legal people working on many, many actions on many, many fronts," Alloway said yesterday.

4. Aussie banks' profit boost - Under cover of the global financial crisis Australia’s big four banks have ramped up charges to borrowers above the increase in their own costs, The Age reports, resulting in big banking profits and much higher interest bills for customers. The newspaper says its analysis shows a borrower with a three-year fixed-rate home loan of A$300,000 contributes between A$75 and A$125 of their monthly mortgage to extra bank profit.

5. Stiff competition for Aussie PPPs - International banks are falling over themselves to lend money to Australian infrastructure public-private partnerships, Bloomberg reports. Steve Hughes, Royal Bank of Scotland's head of corporate debt capital markets and syndicate, said about 30 banks, including ones from Singapore, Japan and Europe, were willing to lend to public private partnership projects in Australia.

They "need to apply their capital globally and Australia's a great place to do that," said Geoff Daley, head of infrastructure advisory at RBS. "That's partly a flight to quality because of the uncertainty in Europe and the US."

The Morrison & Co managed New Zealand Social Infrastructure Fund, which has the New Zealand Superannuation Fund as its cornerstone investor, is alo targeting public-private partnerships in Australia.

 * This article was first published yesterday in our paid subscriber email for bank executives, regulators and other industry experts. Subscribe here or email


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