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Black horse knackered in favour of ANZ Bank New Zealand

ANZ National Bank last night confirmed the worst-keep secret of the day: Its two bank brands will become ANZ Bank New Zealand.

Chief executive David Hisco has confirmed the change, just approved by the bank’s board.

He says no frontline jobs will be lost as a result of the change.

But the fixed term's of some of the bank's 200 technology contractors could come to an end as the project winds up.

The bank will now spend close to $100 million on the rebrand and to open new branches or upgrade existing ones over the next two years.

Most of that cost would be realised in the bank's 2012 result.

ANZ Bank New Zealand will hand back the National Bank’s black horse and green colour brand to British bank Lloyds TSB when the licence expires in 2014.

“This is about making ANZ an even stronger and more competitive bank for New Zealand,” Mr Hisco says.

ANZ bought The National Bank in 2003 and after almost ten years of reducing duplication, the next logical step is to combine them into one.” 

Dumping the National Bank brand will see the group’s total branches reduce to 280 from 300 in New Zealand. 

The banks’ two million customers combined should not notice too much difference.

“They will be talking to someone in a blue shirt rather than a green one.” 

The lender has referred to the brand change as the NZ Simplification project.

ANZ will adopt National Bank's technology system and the majority of its products. Steps had already been taken to move toward one set of products and a shared technology system, Mr Hisco says.

There would be more savings to come in the future from eliminating duplicated information technology costs, ANZ said in a statement.


'You have to remember that New Zealand is a country of 4 million people,'' Mr Hisco says.


''To divert our resources across two brands really means we don't provide ourselves an opportunity to look any different from our competitors."




More by Georgina Bond

Comments and questions

Good news all round - great that no frontline staff will be lost.

Last year they said no branches would be closed.
now they say no frontline staff will be lost.
Watch this space.
I was recently talking to an ANZ frontline person who said that it is obvious when you merge an ANZ and NZNZ branch,that there will be staff losses.

I remember back in 2005 I was in a meeting where the branding situation was discussed by staff. One leasing guy Tim asked a pesky question about what would happen when the licence to use the black horse expire and before anyone else managed to say anything I interjected "after that they're flogging a dead horse" which did generate some laughter.

What's wrong with the existing strategy I've no idea. Keep the 2 brands and make them able to serve each other's customers if/when required to have the benefits of 2 brands and 1 bank.

NBNZ has always had a classier feel and culture.
But ANZ wants the ANZ culture to be imprinted,from the top down.
The ANZ plan was to brainwash NBNZ customers into staying and then get rid of NBNZ.
While there are younger members of society who are sold to the highest buddha,there are many others who see their bank brand as importan as a english soccer fan sees their local team,or a beer drinker supports their favourite beer..

You can spin it either way, "two brands is great it gives us more market presence in more places" etc etc but when you want to merge them you dream up all of the all the reasons why it makes sense to axe one of them.
Its been on the cards for a long time.
One brand is considered more like the prancing horse brand in terms of customer perception and the other is a toyota camry. I will let you guess which is which.

#3 After watching the advertising I thought one bank was for old people in Italy and the other add was that we cant have what want we want.

I cannot believe that customers accustomed to the brand of the 'prancing horse' will settle for a Toyota Camry. ANZ has shown striking arrogance.

Not a Toyota Camry.
They are steady and reliable.
A Nissan Bluebird Mitsubishi Galant or a donkey would be more like it.

If Heartland management are smart, they'd be on the phone to Lloyds to take over the National Bank brand...

Damn sure I would.

This would give Heartland the momentum they need. Some recapitalisation may be needed, but I'm sure there'll be a few local takers.

I wouldnt be alone being frustrated by the profits being extracted out of this country, and its time to fight back

Richard Im afraid you are dreaming, Heartland would never be able to replicate the service levels provided by National with their current offering to the public.

all about synergies and efficiency. ANZ will continue to dominate the NZ and global market and former NBNZ customers will have a great edge dealing with the premier brand.

The only problem with your theory is that BNZ customers have the choice of several premium brands who will be falling over themselves to get their hands on National's high net worth customers. And ANZ well knows that the National customer is a higher value one. God only knows why they've mismanaged this rebranding thing so badly.

ANZ will lose market share.
Others will gain.
ASB did not exist in agribusiness 20 years ago.
Look at their market share now.
Rabobank are gobbling up more business all the time.
So are Kiwi and SBS in general banking.
When you get too big,the only way you can go is down.

This would have to be the most disastrously handled rebranding ever. As a business customer of National Bank, I was informed this morning of the change to my bank - but by the NZ Herald article, NOT by National Bank. It was only at 7.30pm tonight that I received an email from National Bank telling me what I already knew thanks to other news organisations.

I can just imagine the bureaucracy and idiocy that must have gone on within ANZ/National that resulted in customers finding out their bank was disappearing via a newspaper.

What a shambolic approach to customer service. What did I do after reading the news in the paper this morning? I called two Banks and will be meeting with both before making a final decision. The decision of which Bank is a very personal one. It is not up to a NZ to tell National customers 'we're taking you over', like it or lump it. We will vote with our feet.

mate, the media aricle was speculation not known fact at the time. Most of the staff would not have known and there are clear NZX rules about disclosure of this information to staff. Most business people would realise the brand change was a likely event so should not be a great surprise.

Sorry, but if you really believe the media article was speculation rather than fact, you are completely uninformed or just gullible. The decision to rebrand National to ANZ was made many months ago. ANZ business & private bankers have been asked 'when' by their customers for many months now also. They certainly have by the directors of my company and they've refused to say.

National Bank and ANZ have had MONTHS to plan how to tell customers and explain how it will or won't affect them. For it to finally be communicated to customers via the major daily newspaper is an unmitigated disaster in customer management terms.

Worse still was the hastily prepared email from National Bank sent at 7.30pm that night - which they failed to send to more than one director of our company - the rest remained in the dark.

Is that really how you tell your business banking customers that the bank they do business with is going to cease to exist? You have to be kidding. And this morning as I drove to work, I heard a radio ad explaining the rebranding - presumably that required a lot more planning. Which tells me they didn't do any planning at all around communication to customers.

At least, out of all of this, National Bank customers have gained a crystal clear picture of the bank they are supposed to join. ANZ - customers? Who cares.

ANZ had a board meeting yesterday - that is when the decision would have been made. It would have been planned for months, and ANZ would have worked out comms strategies etc - but a strategic decision like this would only have been taken by the board. The exec probably had a good idea as to which way the decision would fall but could never have been certain. And they couldn't do anything until it had.

Once the decision was made the first people to be notified are the stock markets and then the media.

The leak would have been as simple as everyone in the company being invited to a post-board meeting communication and media putting 1 and 1 together. But that still doesn't mean the decision had been made.

Graham Turley the head manager for Agri/Commercial,made branch visits a considerable time ago.
As part of his speech at those branches,he made it quite clear that the black horse and the green colour was to go.
You are quite wrong to say that the decision was only made yesterday.

yes we all know that mate. The brand is under license from Lloyds till 2014 and sometime between then and now the brand will change and the horse and sheild will go, the point is the timing when the actual decision was made on Monday. Everyone at NB/ANZ knew it would come sooner or later but only a few as permitted under NZX rules would have known that it was MOnday.

My comment relates to you getting the hump about not being told . The reason is most staff would not have known about a difinitive decision until it was actually made and communicated to NZX. There are NZX rules about disclosures to staff .

We all knew a brand change was imminent . Both staff and clients like you so why is it a disaster. we are NB business client as well and its been discussed with us as a likely event . As long as we have the same manager there is no issue for us

Mate,the NBNZ banking staff are not that dumb.
Neither am I.
We have known about this for years.
it is when it happens that the reactions start.
Once the green colour goes,it will crystallise.

no one said anything about being dumb, the comment was made that many staff whether they suspected it or not, would not have known until the board made the decision .

All of the staff who were present at Graham Turley's branch PR visits,would have known,as did all of the invited guests who were there.

We have yet to receive an email.
We have dealt with NBNZ for 75 years.
ANZ don't care.
It is their way or the highway.

Do what we are doing. We are already talking with BNZ and ASB. As you would expect, they couldn't be happier to provide a solution. Kiwibank and Trustbank in the paper today also offering their services.

As the organisation that holds our company's money - which is the lifeblood of any business, the onus was on National and ANZ to explain themselves to customers. And they haven't.

Informed.... Trustbank...??

The board approved the decision late this afternoon, and the NZX and staff were notified at were hardly out of the loop....

You mean to say all the planning and expenditure was made BEFORE the Board approved the decision. If that is the case it is even more reason to shift banks.
But I suspect the Board made the key decisions months ago and yesterday was some form of formality.

You really expect anyone to believe that? These things take months in the planning. The public aren't that dumb.

Thank you Mr Hisco.

Upgrade all ANZ customers to National Bank OR downgrade all National Bank customers to ANZ - and they choose the latter!. Will be interesting to see how many vote with their feet/money.

You do realize that the simlifaction process means that ANZ is going to be switching platforms to NBNZ systems right? That means the the core products etc are going to be NBNZ! The reason they are merging NBNZ into ANZ is because ANZ is the GLOBAL brand

It's sad they haven't made more of this point. From the packet I received about the changes a few weeks ago it would appear ANZ is just adopting NBNZ's entire product suite anyway. So really, we're just getting NBNZ dressed up in ANZ clothing.

'You do realize..."

How would their customers realise that if they haven't actually communicated with them? ESP? Mind-reading?

Ok then tell me why a Lexus is called a Lexus and not a Toyota.

It would make a lot of sense if they adopted a new logo portraying the merger of two Australian brands, such as two Brumbies mating.

ANZ...gone by lunch time...the most 'Australianised' of all the major banks. awful.

i am voting on my feet /money will go other bank

I was finally happy with the bank I'm with and now they are being swallowed up into ANZ?


I don't really understand people's hang up with the 'Brand' National Bank - it's owned by ANZ.

You have been an ANZ customer for years; whether you like it or not. So you should have voted with your merry feet a long time ago rather than start crying now that your beloved Horse is being taken away from you.

I have always been a very satisfied ANZ customer.

They will have to start selling pig figurines or empty boxes, oh wait BNZ tried that.

None of you will change banks. ANZ knows that most customers are too lazy to look for alternatives...

My business is definitely changing bank. ANZ is the very last bank brand we would ever choose to bank with. It is also nowhere near as difficult as you might think to change banks. We will be with a new bank within the month. Decision made to move, just need to decided who has the best offer.

Some of these views seem emotionally charged and fairly ignorant. The ANZ has owned the NBNZ for about 7 years. Both brands fall under the same Management structure, the same back office processing functions, even the people that approve your loans are one & the same for both brands. There is no difference between the two apart from perception. Let us not forget that the ANZ employs 9000 taxpayers in this country, in the scheme of things 20 branches with job losses based on normal attrition is meaningless.

Over the last seven years,the change in NBNZ has been noticeable.
Lots of staff going to other banks,more red tape approach.
In the area I live,over the last 40 years,ANZ lost most of their client base.
Let us not forget that most of those 9000 taxpayers are NBNZ staff not ANZ staff.
You overlook the historic difference in culture between the two banks.
You completely ignore the massive importance of Branding in today's society.
ANZ were using the black horse at a supposed substantial cost.
The reason for that is obvious.
Try changing the name of the all blacks or their jerseys and see what happens.
Try changing the colours of the canterbury rugby team and see what happens.

"Let us not forget that most of those 9000 taxpayers are NBNZ staff not ANZ staff."

You're kidding, right? ANZ National Financial Group employs 9000 people, the number of those people who work exclusively for NBNZ is narrow. As in limited to branches.

So pray tell me before ANZ bought NBNZ what their respective staff numbers were.
Then I will believe you.

At the time of the 2003 announcement that ANz was to buy NBNZ,NBNZ was NZ's largest bank.
NBNZ had a 20 % market share and ANZ 16 %
I await your reply.
Around here,ANZ would have had nothing like 6 %
WestpacbNZ and ASB would have outstripped them
i would have said 6 %,

You obviously don't work in one of the 20 branches? By the tone of your last comment you would make a good candidate for meaningless attrition. 20 Branches could represent 200+ jobs in todays economic environment hardly meaningless?

If that is so, mightn't they have liked to explain that to their customers before enforcing a wholesale change on them?

Of course not.we have no choice in the matter.
ANZ is interested in the global picture,not what a few peasants in a tinpot country think.
The problem was NBNZ being sold to ANZ.

so true

Aren't all of our banks owned by CBA anyway..... Kiwi bank is the last truly NZ bank and that will prob be sold soon like everything else of value

TSB,SBS and Heartland are three obvious ones you have forgotten about.

Who really cares - a bank is a bank

I dislike ANZ so want to to change. Which of the other banks are good?

BNZ have a very strong business banking offer. Westpac too.

46 years a National Bank customer but finally moving to T.S.B.
Had 40 years great service then ANZ influence quickly began to make it's presence felt !!
Used to get regular calls from my personal NBNZ banker but then realized they no longer were not that interested in my six figure term deposits.
Kiwibank, Rabobank, T.S.B, S.S.B will be run off their feet with new customers coming over to them.
ANZ customer service is very poor with surveys showing this to be a fact.

This is all getting a bit weird. As an NB customer, the same people I dealt with yesterday are the same people I deal with today, and will deal with tomorrow. So what's the big deal? A different colour on the branding? Same people, same service, same systems. Why would I change?

Same people. New reporting lines. New governance rules around decision-making on things such as loans, service etc. The ANZ brand's rules.

Agree. I work at ANZ (National Financial Group) and find myself answering the phone one minute saying it's ANZ and then next saying it's National. And I've done this for 4 years. And all of my colleagues do it do.

There will be no actual difference in quality of service (though, that won't stop former national bank customers bleating about how ANZ's service is poor without realising that the person they are bleating to is exactly the same as before).

"...that won't stop former national bank customers bleating about how ANZ's service is poor without realising that the person they are bleating to is exactly the same as before."

So National Bank customers are now regarded by ANZ as 'bleaters'?

Oh that's really wonderful. Someone on here from the ANZ Group is on here openly slagging off the customers they are about to inherit, before they even do so. If readers on here weren't going to move banks before, they will now.

Who would want to join a bank that regards you as a 'bleater'?

Ha ha - nice own goal mate!

ASB part of CBA (AU)
BNZ part of NAB (AU)
Westpac is Westpac (AU)
National Bank part of ANZ (AU)
Rabo - (Utrecht, Netherlands)
Kiwibank (NZ Taxpayers pay for it)
The Brands are mostly just marketing, they revolve in an endless cycle of consolidating brands and then splitting them up to create niche brands. All this keeps advertising companies and consultants entertained. In AU banks have kept some smaller brands and expanded them to give a local feel to the bank eg Westpac with Bank of Melbourne (taken over by Westpac in 1997 - Brand scrapped in 2004 and relaunched now in 2011). NZ with its 4mill people is just another state to the AU banks so the change is probably not garnering much interest over there.

I deal with all of the banks and have done for decades.
They all have different cultures and different ways of dealing with clients and client and other parties.
When you observe the behaviour of these banks over a 40 year period,you learn their good and their bad points.
You know which ones have got tough,and the why and when of it.
I allows you to make an analysis of their pros and cons.

I think that the NBNZ being rebranded was inevitable. I am surprised that Melbourne tolerated the orphan brand this long. The NBNZ customers that don't like the new environment will leave as the Postbank customers did earlier from the ANZ (5 years after acquiring Postbank, ANZ was back to the same market share they enjoyed before buying it) and as the TrustBank customers did from Westpac (haven't checked the pre & post acquisition market shares, but wouldnt be surprised if there was a similar outcome to the Postbank/ANZ customer share scenario above). ANZ are persuing an Asian strategy in any case and are now not particularly interested in the NZ market which is destined to only go sideways or downwards for them in the forseeable future. So don't mourn the loss of the NBNZ brand, if it was still part of the Lloyds TSB group things would be very grim.

So one overseas-owned bank buys another and eventually dumps the 'Kiwi' brand after 10 years... Hardly surprising or shocking and besides National Bank has not been a New Zealand-owned brand for years just like Watties (Heinz), L&P (Coca-Cola) & Pineapple Lumps (Cadbury)... As a National Bank customer though I would've appreciated some direct communications about the change however.

Nationalbank was never a "Kiwi" brand. When it was Countywide it was owned by RBS and General Accident (which was Australian), then it was bought by the National Bank (which itself was established in London and bought by Lloyds sometime in the mid 60s), then it was bought by ANZ (which, again, was founded in London) in 2003.

It was possibly the LEAST "Kiwi" of the major banks given it never had a fully fledged NZ owner. ASB and BNZ were at least founded in New Zealand.

But enough of that irrational xenophobia...

I have been a National Bank client for my entire working life and I will move (already started the process). Since ANZ bought NB approx. 7 years ago there has been a gradual reduction of customer services to the point that I try not contact the bank unless absolutely necessary. The black horse and National Bank branding has been the only distinction between the two and more. I have no desire to become an ANZ customer (some of you will point out I already am). ANZ is one of the most profitable banks and at the same time preforms well below when comparing bank customer service. When you have term deposits / home loans / kiwisaver / excellent credit history...banks bend over backwards to accommodate you.

Spot on.

The account I opened in 1980 at Northern Building Society has now ended up at ANZ via United Building Society, United Bank, Countrywide Bank and National Bank.

Maybe I should wait and see who ANZ is taken over by.

Chuck has it right on! The Aussie shareholders will be demanding a return on their investment, which has been adversely affected by imprudent corporate blunders, plus small minded witless leaders who couldnt manage a p**s up in a brewery. When a horse goes to the knackering yeard, it is broken into different this space dear people - the giant will be disseminated in the future. First to go, that Private Bank straight into the chequebook of a credible Financial Planning/Investment House = First bonus payout for that Oz born NZ CEO.

What a stupid new name! ANZ Bank New Zealand? Really?

Don't they know we have a Bank of New Zealand for years?

Well said Southisland Girl and Gary Osbourne. Too much ranting about not wanting to be an ANZ customer when (as an NBNZ customer), that is what you have been for nearly a decade. ANZ's aspirations go far beyond NZ. Their NZ ambitions begin and end with Return on Equity and the loss of some market share here will not create too much of a tremor on the Group balance sheet. In fact, the goodwill write off will be precisely the opposite effect. Find another Aussie owned bank if it makes you feel better.

Let ANZ's aspirations go far beyond NZ.
That is of no interest to me.
They had a very poor run in Au with commercial losses in recent years.
it is great that losing alot of NZ customers is of no concern to them.
You state what ANZ really thinks so lets vote with our feet.
I did not agree with the sale to ANZ,but the loss of the brand is the straw that broke the camel's back.
I'm off to a NZ owned bank.
Kiwi or SBS.
Both are growing fast.

My experience is similar to many of those above, I have 95% of my personal banking with National. Mortgage, Credit Card, Kiwisaver, transaction accs & Insurance
I'm viewing this as an opportunity to change banks and to get a better deal in the process. I have noticed a negative change at NBNZ in terms of service which has accelerated over the last 12=24 months.
I have already been online to research rival branch networks, and like idea of moving to Kiwi or TSB because they are NZ owned. I will probably visit ASB to get a comparison.
If ANZ wants me to stay they are going to have to make a decent effort to retain me, Based on my value and past experience, I'm not holding my breath.

GP at #42 you are right most people are pretty lazy and take what is dished out!
I am an informed customer of National for gee...............20 years. I knew this was coming and I really dislike the ANZ so 6 days ago Kiwibank finally got my not inconsiderable business.

I feel pretty good right now.

Who cares as long as my interest rates are the same.