ANZ’s new QLD ‘tech hub’ sweetener to get Suncorp deal over the line

Suncorp ANZ technology hub Brisbane

ANZ Bank will commit to establishing a new technology hub in Brisbane in a bid to progress its plans to acquire tier-two rival Suncorp Bank.

In a just-announced deal inked with the Queensland Government, ANZ has unveiled its plans to establish a “major tech hub” in the state capital, providing a dedicated space for technology specialists in digital, cloud and data.

Over the next five years, the bank will populate the hub with 700 tech specialists – a mix of new hires and placements, it confirmed.

As well, the bank will also extend its existing partnership with bigtech Google “to deliver cloud training” to hub employees, and will work with Queensland universities “to drive research and training in technology”.

ANZ stressed that its commitment to building the new tech hub is contingent on its successful acquisition of the Queensland-based Suncorp Bank.

ANZ chief executive officer Shayne Elliot said the deal “represents a significant commitment by ANZ to Queensland”, welcoming, he added, “the constructive approach of the Government to growing the tech sector in the state”.

He noted the benefits the hub would also offer to the state’s burgeoning tech workforce and digital economy.

“Research shows Queensland educates almost one-fifth of the nation’s IT students yet has less than one-seventh of the nation’s tech workers. ANZ’s tech hub will provide career opportunities to Queenslanders and will create jobs, lift wages, and boost productivity,” Elliot said.

As revealed in its recent half-year results, Suncorp Bank saw a year-on-year after tax profits jump of 28 per cent, totalling $256 million, with its loan book also seeing a positive 5.4 per cent bump – from $50.2 billion to $52.9 billion – over the same period.

The big four bank is currently in the middle of a formal merger authorisation process with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), entering into talks with the competition regulator last December.

In early April, the ACCC released its ‘preliminary views’ on the proposed acquisition, expressing reservations that the deal would deliver the public benefits being promised by ANZ – namely, that it would create a stronger and more efficient bank.

The ACCC is set to hand down its final decision on the proposed takeover at the end of July, having previously deferred its original decision date by more than a month.

ANZ was approached for further comment on the tech hub but did not elaborate beyond the details of its release.