ANZ chief wants Four Pillars ban overturned

Australia and New Zealand Banking Corporation Ltd (ANZ) chief executive Mike Smith is hoping the September federal election will result in a reversal of the 'four pillars' ban on major-bank mergers, The Australian reports.

According to the newspaper, Mr Smith said despite the fact the policy was conceived to ensure competition within the financial services sector, it was not achieving that.

"There's this idea that you must have four major banks – why not six, or two?" he said.

As to whether a merger of two of the big four would result in the subsequent merger of the remaining two, Mr Smith said: "I wouldn't have thought so, but (a reversal of the policy) is unlikely to happen. That I do know."

Mr Smith holds the rotating chairman's role at the Australian Bankers Association, however, The Australian reports the banking industry lobby group's chief executive Steven Munchenberg said there were "no current plans" to lobby for a repeal of Four Pillars.

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