Majors size up $5bn NZ takeover

Australia's big banks are preparing for a $5 billion-plus takeover battle for the National Bank of New Zealand following its parent Lloyds TSB's indication it wants to sell. Leading contenders would be the ANZ, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac.

NBNZ has about 20 per cent of the New Zealand banking market. A takeover by an Australian bank would more than double the Australian bank's market share. Australian banks already control 65 per cent of the NZ market and have been considering ways to expand to compensate for an expected slowing of the mortgage loan market in Australia. NBNZ is New Zealand's biggest mortgage lender and has around 22 per cent of the market. It is ranked No 1 in assets and No 3 in deposits.