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ANZ Bank to suspend retail asset finance business

ANZ Bank will suspend its retail asset finance business from the end of next month while it undertakes a review, affecting new loans for cars, boats and caravans.

“ANZ will continue to service its existing consumer asset finance customers and will continue to provide customers with access to personal loans during the suspension,” the bank said in a statement on Friday.

ANZ’s asset finance product for commercial customers is not affected.

The move comes amid the first round of hearings for the royal commission into financial services which is looking at case studies covering areas including home loans, car loans, credit cards, add-on insurance, credit offers and account administration.

Car loans will be a key focus, with the commission hearing from customers about ANZ and its former subsidiary Esanda’s car finance practices, and Westpac and St George’s finance practices. ANZ was hit with a $5 million fine earlier this year over the car lending practices at Esanda.

The suspension of new loans is effective from April 30 and the review is expected to be completed by September 30.

ANZ’s managing director of retail distribution, Catriona Noble, attributed the review to “the increased technology costs required to effectively compete in the secured consumer asset finance market”.

“Our secured consumer asset finance product represents less than 1 per cent of revenue within our broader Australian business, so we need to assess if it is better for our customers, shareholders and employees if we focus our investment on areas of our business that are core to what we do,” Ms Noble said in a statement.

“Providing asset finance solutions for commercial customers remains a core business for ANZ and we will also continue to service existing retail customers for the duration of their loans.”

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