Competition issues for credit union mergers: Westpac and St.George

When credit unions merge APRA co-ordinates comments from other regulators including the ACCC.

But the competition issues for credit union mergers shouldn’t be ignored and it’s worth looking at the Westpac-St.George process including how ACCC analyses and defines financial markets, distribution and market structure.

The ACCC has issued a Statement of Issues on the proposed acquisition of St George Bank Limited by Westpac Banking Corporation.

The ACCC’s preliminary view is that there are no causes for concern in respect of retail banking, corporate banking, wealth management and insurance.

The Statement of Issues seeks further information on certain competition issues which have arisen from the ACCC’s market inquiries to date.

The ACCC invites further submissions from the market by 6 August 2008. To allow for submissions in response to the Statement of Issues, the ACCC’s final decision date will be deferred until 20 August 2008.

UPDATE 13 August 2008: The ACCC has concluded that the proposed acquisition of St George by Westpac is unlikely to substantially lessen competition under section 50 of the Trade Practices Act 1974 in the markets in which they compete and therefore the ACCC will not oppose the acquisition.

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