Westpac/St George may be grabbing the parochial headlines, but will that so-called mega merger only create a big fish in a small financial pond?
The failure of ANZ to get its hands on Hong Kong’s Wing Lung Bank is more ominous and potentially more important. China Merchants Bank offered US$4.7bn for Wing Lung and little old ANZ just couldn’t compete with those big bucks.
Does the humbling of ANZ, a firm desperate to grow in Asia, mean that Australian banks will always lose when up against the might of a Chinese rival? And as a banker, is your international reputation doomed if you stay with a domestic?
The Economist gives us the global take on ANZ’s real standing in the banking world: “It came down, in the end, to a fight between an aggressive Australian bank with a new boss who has China in his sights, and keen Chinese banks wanting a quick route to the outside world. The result reflected the new financial pecking order: China won.”
What now for ANZ’s Asian expansion? Will another local bank ever dare to take on the Chinese? Put the boot into Aussie banks below.