Kurt Bayer

Kurt Bayer is an APNZ reporter based in Christchurch.

National Banks to be rebranded ANZ

It's green now - but that could soon change to ANZ blue. Photo / Sarah Ivey
It's green now - but that could soon change to ANZ blue. Photo / Sarah Ivey

ANZ National Bank has confirmed that after almost ten years of operating ANZ and The National Bank in New Zealand, the two brands will be brought together as ANZ.

Staff at all ANZ and National banks across the country were called to crunch meetings this afternoon.

For some time, ANZ National has been considering its future as part of a major review.

ANZ National Bank chief executive David Hisco said The National Bank brand would progressively be phased out over about two years from around the end of October.

The company's legal name would become ANZ Bank New Zealand Ltd.

"ANZ bought The National Bank in 2003 and after almost 10 years of reducing duplication, the next logical step is to combine them into one,'' Mr Hisco said.

"In recent years we've made things simpler for customers by creating one management structure across both banks, one customer approvals process and, very soon, we'll be moving to one set of products and The National Bank's technology system.

"The black horse and green colour branding of The National Bank are licensed from British bank Lloyds TSB, and that licence expires in 2014. So it makes sense to change to ANZ, the brand used in 32 markets around the world.

"All our frontline staff will continue to be part of the new ANZ - there will be no frontline job losses as a result of the brand change. The National Bank's sponsorships and community commitments will continue under the ANZ brand.

"Customers will still be able to see the same people they've always dealt with in the same communities we're in now. For most National Bank customers, it will be business as usual - they will see the same people, just wearing a different uniform.

"At the moment we have about 300 branches nationwide and over the next two years as we combine some of our adjacent branches, we'll end up with about 280 full-service branches, still the most by far of any bank.

"This will see us investing $100 million in the next two years to ensure we have a well positioned and attractive branch network for customers in current and new communities.

"Over the next two years, we'll increase our branch presence from 75 per cent of where New Zealanders live to almost 90 per cent - so 15 new communities will get branches.''

ANZ and National Bank branches that are very close to each other will, in most cases, co-locate to the larger branch or relocate to an area nearby where there is customer demand.

Cost savings at ANZ National have been made in recent years with the streamlining of head office management and processes, with more savings to come in the future from eliminating duplicated information technology costs.

As planned, there will be a group of staff, primarily technology contractors whose roles will naturally come to an end as the NZ Simplification project winds up in the coming months.

Like all businesses in the current economic climate, ANZ will continue to look for efficiencies and savings where it makes sense, the bank said.

"Our history in New Zealand dates back to 1840 and includes various mergers and acquisitions of financial institutions since that time. We have a huge commitment to New Zealand and that will continue,'' Mr Hisco said.

He added that ANZ's community commitments in New Zealand would continue through many initiatives including the Cancer Society's Daffodil Day, Young Farmer of the Year contest, the ANZ Netball Championship and New Zealand Cricket sponsorships, the multi-million dollar ANZ Staff Foundation community donations programme and the financial literacy programme MoneyMinded.

- APNZ

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