A proposed merger between the Newcastle Permanent and the Greater Bank cleared a major hurdle today.
The plan gained approval from Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers who said he signed off on it today following advice from banking sector regulators including the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
“My decision follows a thorough assessment of whether the proposed mergers are in Australia’s national interest,” the Treasurer said.
“The proposed mergers are expected to support competition and innovation in the banking sector by allowing these customer‑owned banks to better compete with the larger players and deliver higher quality products and services to members.”
Customers from both banks will now decide the fate of the merger with votes to be held as part of annual general meetings.
If it goes ahead, it will be one of the biggest corporate mergers in Australian history, resulting in a combined worth of $20-billion in assets and a customer base of around 600,000.
The banks’ mutual ownership structures will be maintained under any such arrangement.