There was a time when ANZ Bank was aiming to create a strong regional presence in Asia.
During that time, the bank made several investments in the region, including stakes in AMMB in Malaysia, Shanghai Rural Commercial Bank, Panin Bank in Indonesia and a payments/cards joint venture with MetroBank Philippines.
The value of these investments is around $4 billion. Most of have not not provided sufficient returns and also present restrictions due to capital requirements.
Therefore ANZ will be selling these stakes.
Like many banks/lenders, ANZ is getting out of capital-intensive businesses at a time when banks are under regulatory pressures to have a larger capital buffers.
Earlier this year, ANZ stated that they would be closing the SME lending business in 5 Asian countries, including Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Taiwan.
According to some press reports, more job cuts are expected in the near future.
“For Asia…we’re at that point in maturity where we’ve built this great thing and now it’s just time for us to tighten it up, said CEO Shayne Elliott. “It may result that at the end of the tightening up, Asia is a bit smaller than it is today but that’s not the objective.”
ANZ will also be cutting 200 jobs in Australia, due to a bad economy and weak growth in lending. There will also be a freeze on external hiring.
This adds to an estimated 2,500 job cuts, made by major banks in Australia during the first half of the financial year.
“The roles are largely based in Melbourne and are mainly managerial and back-office positions in areas such as marketing and project management,” a spokesman stated.