ANZ splits management of retail banking services

As reported in the Australian Financial Review, ANZ has revealed its intention to specialise its services – unlike the all finance strategy favoured by its competitors – by creating separate metropolitan and regional business units.

The managing director of ANZ Bank, Mr John McFarlane, has appointed Ms Elizabeth Proust as head of Metrobanking business whilst Ms Alison Watkins will head Regionalbanking. The appointments have evolved from ANZ’s intention to manage its operations within 21 separate key business units announced last year.

Speculation on negative outcomes due to these new consumer banking segments has again been rife within the media. However, management of retail banking on a regional basis is hardly new to the banking industry, as banks have always managed branches in ‘clusters’ or regions.

Any disadvantage or advantage due to this development for either rural or city based customers will become apparent over time.

However, as Ms Watkins noted this strategy will further help ANZ to obtain a clearer idea of the dynamics and value drivers of each business and eliminate cross-subsidies. However, it will also allow the bank to report profit from metropolitan and regional areas separately. By creating a flatter management and reporting structure ANZ should be able to further eliminate inefficiencies and increase productivity.

With the establishment of Regionalbanking, BankChoice sees clear gains for ANZ’s rural customers who will benefit greatly from any improvement ANZ may be able to extract from having a business unit solely focused on their needs.