SYDNEY/SINGAPORE - Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd (ANZ) has closed its business lending to small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) in five Asian countries, cutting around 100 jobs, in a sign its new chief executive is slimming presence in the region.
ANZ has exited what it dubs its "emerging corporate" business in Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Taiwan, the bank's Melbourne-based spokesman told Reuters. Separately, people familiar with the matter said ANZ was streamlining its SME business in Asia.
The aim is to reduce lending to low-returning businesses, the people familiar with ANZ's thinking said, declining to be identified as the matter was not public.
ANZ is alone among Australia's major four banks to have made a big push in Asia. CEO Shayne Elliott has shifted focused to areas where growth is faster and returns are particularly attractive.
The bank is "not generally targeting the smaller end of town anymore," one of the people told Reuters.
"There is much more focus on account planning and strategy, making sure that the client mixes the bank has got are right and that the bank has enough tentacles of products being sold to those clients."
It was not clear how big the SME unit was nor how big its revenue contribution was to the overall business.
Two of the people said they expected more change to come, particularly at the bank's markets division which the Australian regulator has taken to court for suspected market manipulation. ANZ said it would vigorously defend itself.
Already under consideration is the sale of minority stakes in banks in Indonesia, Malaysia and China, for which Elliott has put Deputy Chief Executive Graham Hodges in charge.
As part of this retreat, the bank has been trying to sell its 39 per cent stake in PT Bank Pan Indonesia Tbk (Panin) , Reuters previously reported.
It has also made a slew of announcements over recent months including a management shake-up that involved the exit of Andrew Geczy, who headed the international and institutional business.
Earlier this month, ANZ said it would break up its global wealth division to focus on improving returns and capital efficiency in insurance and superannuation.