By Bernard Hickey
ANZ NZ's chief executive David Hisco has rejected a National Business Review report that ANZ was considering shutting its National Bank branches, saying it made no sense and was not correct.
ANZ was however reviewing its use of the National Bank brand, including the black horse logo and the green colour owned by Lloyds, which sold National to ANZ in 2003.
Hisco said he told staff when he arrived last year that ANZ would review the use of the National brand and he expected to complete the review by the middle of this year, although ANZ was now focused on its response to the Christchurch earthquake.
"We're a bit disappointed with that because we said we're dealing with Christchurch and it's the wrong time to write a story when people are focused on other things, but they still went ahead with it," Hisco told Interest.co.nz in a video interview. He was referring to the NBR article.
"What they said was we're going to close all our (National) branches and it simply doesn't make sense. I don't know where you'd fit all the customers. It probably wasn't well researched," Hisco said.
He spoke on Wednesday at a Trans Tasman Business Circle luncheon in Auckland. Answering a question from a member of the audience, he said the NBR had not done a proper analysis and he invited members of the audience to cancel their subscriptions.
Hisco said he had told staff when he arrived last year that he would be in New Zealand for five years.
"So I need to design a strategy for the period that I'm here. I told the team and the staff 'everything is on the table -- we'll look at everything'," he said.
Hisco said the National Bank brand had been extended with Lloyds, the previous owner of National Bank, but eventually it would have to go. He said the brand referred to the National Bank horse and the green Lloyds' colours.
"Eventually we'll have to make a decision on that and I've told staff we'll make a decision and then we'll move on. But we haven't landed on it and really our minds couldn't be further from it."
Hisco said the National Bank brand agreement with Lloyds had a couple of years left to run, "but the review, I've said to staff, I'd let them know as soon as I've done it. It could be mid-year, but it's not what we're focused on right now."
* This article was first published in our email for paid subscribers earlier today. See here for more details and to subscribe.