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End of National Bank brand expected today

 ANZ won't confirm it will tell staff today it is scrapping its National Bank brand. 

The banks were merged in 2003 when ANZ bought National from Lloyd’s TSB for nearly $7 billion.

The move affects 900,000 National Bank customers and thousands of staff.

ANZ spokesman Stefan Herrick told NBR ONLINE no decision on the future of the National brand has been made.

However, it is widely known the National Bank brand is on the out, and he confirmed a decision will be made very soon, because the IT systems of both banks will be merged at the end of next month.

Mr Herrick says staff will today be updated on what the bank calls the "New Zealand simplification project" – a wide-ranging project looking at the banks’ IT systems and other processes.

"If we were to merge, however, we want to stress there would be no impact on front-line staff. We need all those staff to service our customers. And we’re committed to keeping branches in all the communities we serve.”

Asked if that means keeping both ANZ and National Bank branches, he simply repeated ANZ National’s commitment to stay in the communities it already serves.

In November 2010, ANZ National ceo David Hisco said he would not rule out the possibility one of the bank brands being phased out.

“Everything is on the table," he told NBR ONLINE, as he announced the move to streamline the two brands' IT systems.

The IT merger will mean changes to ANZ National's internet banking systems, as well as the long-awaiting arrival of the ANZ Visa debit card, among other changes.

Centre for Banking Studies director Dr David Tripe believes any decision to close down National Bank could be more costly than ANZ realises.

He suspects the cost of running two brands is not very large, while in the meantime the company has a well-recognised and respected brand in the National Bank.

“We’re not at all sure the ANZ has the same value in the public mind in this market.

"The ANZ’s hope is people will be quite happy to switch from National to ANZ, and if in fact there was no cost to ANZ in closing the brand down, they’d probably be into it quite quickly.

"But I’m not sure other people share the same perspective as to how low cost a transition it would be for them.”

Dr Tripe believes one reason now could be a good time to close down the brand is so ANZ can take a goodwill write-down in this year’s annual results.

More by Blair Cunningham

Comments and questions

What's the big drama about? Whether it's a horse, ANZ or other - It's just banking! So long as the rates are consistent who cares?

I'm with National and chose it, in part, on the brand (as rates etc are pretty much the same regardless of who you choose).

As a National Bank customer I won't be happy with the closure of the National Bank and will look at whether there is anybody else out there with a similar "premium" feel.

I can completely understand closing the branch network but it makes far more sense to keep the brand going as a premium service within ANZ branches (sort of like HSBC Premier vs HSBC).

While you maybe correct, there are many customers like myself who have been with The National Bank for decades, who will probably be happy to stay should things remain as they are. You can call it naive and blind loyalty but ANZ as an entity just does not push my buttons. I will take this opportunity to look elsewhere as I'm sure many other National clients will. Rural businesses, farms etc who feel their local banker has been through the ups and downs with them will feel they have been shat on, emotional dribble I know, but thee ANZ could lose quite a bit of business from this move.

Yes - there is a reason that the goodwill valuation is allowed to be so high - the goodwill exists. The question is whether that customer goodwill is transferable to ANZ. Like with you, the ANZ brand just doesn't push my buttons either.

You clearly buy house brands at the Supermarket...

Actually, I buy a mix of products from premium to house brands! And your problem is....

I've been a National account holder for many years - I can't say I'll be losing any sleep over a switch from a horse to three letters. If I don't like service provided by an organisation I go elsewhere. If I don't like the quality of a product I stop buying it. That's it.

You've suggested that it's all about price rather than brand. Judging by the number of replies, the emotional attachment of the existing brand of National Bank NZ is important to them.

In my experience, banks can win/lose customer only at crucial points eg finance applications, refinancing, signing up secondary and tertiary students, a particularly bad piece of customer service... unfortunately for ANZ, the rebrand creates a crucial decision point for those emotional attached to NBNZ and are unfavourable or ambivalent about ANZ.

I was a long time customer with NBNZ but they lost my business when they wouldn't match price on financing my first house. In the long term, that difference of a few points cost them a lot in revenue over the past 20 years of financing not only my house purchases but also related parties.

NBNZ branches in Mosgiel & South Dunedin are advertised for sale.
I recall seeing one in Wellington for sale.
On the radio,the local head of Agribusiness for NBNZ calls himself ANZ.
I got an invite to a NBNZ function with an ANZ logo and no NBNZ logo.
I have a green NBNZ pen with the name of a NBNZ risk manager on it,who has an ANZ email address.
We had a PR visit last year from the ANZ head of Agribusiness/Commercial who told us they would not shut any branches and "you will still be dealing with the same people."
I told him the BNZ was blue,WESTPAC was red,ASB was yellow/brown so we needed a Green bank.
it is all over bar the shouting for the black horse.
As a customer for 40 years I will be off elsewhere.
It won't be Westpac as their retail division is terribly red tape.
BNZ and ASB are ok to deal with.
BNZ in particular is pulling out all the stops to improve its image.
Maybe Kiwibank or SBS.

If they were to drop the National Bank brand all together, they would very quickly lose a lot of customers to other competing banks.

AS national bank customer i think i would be looking at another bank as i don't like the way the anz operates

customer satisfaction surveys tend to say it all!

Funny ,I always considered national bank had a much better public image than ANZ.. probably the last bank i would choose to be with..

They should take a knife to the OnePath name too - thats a liability given what they have done to their investors

OnePath was the attempted name change from ING.

Change stimulates the mind - It would make me consider moving from ANZ/National to something like TSB (or other bank). Without a prompt, my mind would never think of changing on it's own, lol.

I've been an ANZ customer for about 20 years after my previous long term bank turned down a business proposal I put to them and the ANZ said yes. I've never had a problem with ANZ and the local branch staff are cheerful, friendly, helpful and efficient. I'm sure for National Bank customers that won't change.

Good on you Mr Hisco- but then they probably would be nice to you wouldn't they.

This has been on the cards for years.
ANZ bought a bank that was far superior to theirs at the time, but the corporate ego wouldn't allow this to continue.
They've wound down the National Brand and tried to boost ANZ over the last 3-4 years. Will be interesting to see if many National customers actually leave as a result

The sooner you all bank with a NZ owned one the better the whole country will it now change to a Kiwi owned Bank.....doesn't it make you feel ill when you see all of those BILLIONS going off shore!!!

And what billions are those going offshore, pray tell? ANZ along with others banks have been IMPORTING bllions to satisfy the demands of NZ borrowers. Where are local banks going to get that capital from? The Gummint?
You display the typical ignorant isolationism so prevalent here. ANZ has been represented in NZ (via its forbears) since 1840, has paid taxes, employed locals and acted as a model corporate citizen.

The actual profits 2bob, the profits over and above the business expenses that ulimately go back to the shareholder owners, profits that could/should stay in NZ and grow this country.

Remember that the billions going off-shore are often the return on the billions that came on-shore to buy the assets in the first place.

And isn't Kiwibank one of the worst culprits in financing its day-to-day requirements through overseas money markets? I imagine the interest payments there result in large amounts of money going off-shore. Or does that not count?

So where are the banks meant to get their capital from, to onlend to people like you? Take it by force? Sorry, been tried, didn't work (a la China, Russia). No the banks will borrow, domestically and internationally, and of course they will pay interest, is that wrong? Don't exaggerate your figures either. Last year ANZ's worldwide net profit was around AUD5.4billion, and this (quite correctly) is invested in future growth after the shareholders (including many NZers) are paid a dividend. Seems perfectly reasonable to me, have you got a better alternative? Thought not.

Where will the money come from to pay the interest? Well it will come from quantitative easing in other words it will come from the money press. There you go you create so called "profit" out of thin air. It’s pure manipulation, no new goods have been created except bank notes. It’s like NZ housing industry. The same houses have been sold again and again and every time a house is sold it earns an interest that increases its original price. That in turn increases a new principal of the mortgage a new buyer will have to purchase which earns more money to the lender at the same interest rates. So it goes on and on until the cost of housing becomes astronomical and no ordinary person will be able to buy a house any longer. Money is illusion and that's the main product of banking industry. We don't need more money we need more goods. Imagine a society where you would have unlimited money supply and no goods whatsoever. That's what banking industry has been up to. After all they’ve been promoting their product.


I wonder how many of the small/medium sized businesses who got a letter from the ANZ about 10-15 years ago saying they no longer wanted their account because they were too small to bother with , went to National and will move again. ( I have two mates who have kept their letters as a reminder.)

"He simply repeated ANZ National’s commitment to stay in the communities it already serves". Yeah, right, sounds like a beer ad.
Very carefully chosen words. In Wellington CBD, for example, there are ANZ Bank and National Bank branches that are only tens of metres apart, and even right across the same street! Not closing any?

I too have been with the National Bank for years but these days do most of my banking on the internet, so if that remains unchanged bar the colour - green to blue - and the business banking people I deal with stay the same - I will be more than happy to carry on with ANZ. Despite the fancy adverts voiced by some English celebrity offering an easy switch to ASB, I'm not convinced. Better stay put in my view.

It probably was a condition of the 2003 acquisition that they have to be operated as separate banks for a number of years. Does anyone know?

Yes I know. No it wasn't a condition of sale. It was correctly stated further above that ANZ recognised they were buying a superior brand and thus kept two (largely) separate organisations. They were practically rated the worst bank buy far back then in terms of customer service, and not a lot has changed. They paid Lloyds a large fee to continue to use the horse symbol, which is quite ironic given that Lloyds went down the pan in 2008.

They have been slowly integrating the two banks over the years and recently moved to the same IT platform. Once fully integrated expect service levels to fall to ANZ standards.

Bank local is what I say, I rate Kiwibank very highly and have had nothing but fantastic customer service since I switched from NBNZ.

ANZ has had avery patchy customer survey results over the past decade. National is a 150 year brand and has had better customer surveys than ANZ which itself is ab amalgam of several older brands. ANZ may well be shooting itself in the foot.

I have been with the National 30years,if there is any change to my existing set up, or online banking that does not suit, I will be gone!
T S B or KIWI , more so if there is mass closures.

I emigrated about 8 years ago and brought my savings with me. After conversion it was not an impressive amount. ANZ were not interested in my business, while National Bank treated me like a person with a future. If they close National Bnak down, I will NOT be an ANZ customer. I realise this is an emotional decision, but I will not support a bank that made no effort to support me!

You are already an ANZ customer! ANZ has owned the national bank for the past 9 years or so!

Different brand, different culture.

National has always had better customer service and more of a premium feel than the bargain bucket ANZ.

I know they are owned by them, but my banking professional is not wearing a ANZ uniform and I don't walk into an ANZ branch. I did say it was an emotional decision. I think I have the right to feel like that! I bet you have never had a bank treat you like a filthy refugee!

Mr Refugee, go and sign up with the Co-Operative Bank where they will address you by your christian name, and treat you like a very important person, and they have very excellent rates charges and services.
We find them excellent!!

Kiwibank here is the oppertunity you have been waiting for - let's keep the profit in NZ and employ some of those skilled business bankers.

On 23 May 2012 we received a letter signed by a regional manager for NZNZ,informing us that our agri manager had resigned from the bank due to health reasons.
Much to my surprise,on 29 June 2012 I received an email from an agri manager at Rabobank,asking for some client documents to be signed.
She confirmed my suspicions when she advised that she had a better offer from an employer who would hopefully value her.
Rabobank have picked up a material number of key agri staff from NBNZ.
This has only happened since ANZ bought NBNZ.
As Rabobank said to me,ANZ have no rural clients in Australia so are not a suitable fit for NBNZ.
In this province,ANZ over the last 30 years have had a shrinking client base.
I dealt with ANZ over the ING Fiasco,which saw ANZ repeatedly state that their advice was suitable for clients.
Clearly advice to retired people to place hundreds of thousands of dollars,representing in some cases most of their retirement savings,in these "investments" was motivated by clipping the ticket for ANZ'.s benefit.
The last straw for me was John Judge moving from ACC to ANZ.

I have been a National Bank Customer for decades, and also have a small Account with the ANZ. There is no comparison with customer service - National Bank wins by miles!!! Along with many other Nat Bank Clients, I will be thinking seriously about transferring all my banking over to a Bank like ASB where they don't mess around with loyal Customers!

Another big mistake by an Australian owned Bank. National Bank was a strong brand. ANZ very weak, and the relative quality of the National Bank staff to ANZ staff was obvious to all. Even the operators when you phone the ANZ Bank used to say "how can I put you through" . So if you were going to drop a brand you would drop ANZ.

Big mistake - watch the other banks pick up market share.

I recall in the 80's when the ANZ took over Postbank. I was an ANZ customer at the time and deliberately chose ANZ, probably out of snobbery, because I liked the premium brand, service etc even though the fees were higher. When they merged, the local ANZ branch (a modern, spacious building) was closed in favour of the old, pokey Postbank branch. All of a sudden I was faced with teller queues substantially longer than at ANZ, competing with Postbank customers who in those days were traditionally very 'lower-socio' (I'm trying to be tactful here!!). So, guess what - I was so annoyed with how ANZ had treated me as a customer that I closed all my accounts and went to National Bank. Now that its happening all over again I'll probably have to go to ASB which does seem to value its customers a bit more than the big corporate ANZ. I know also a lot of rural customers will be extremely upset by this as the Black Horse has always been very strong in the rural market, with the ANZ brand by contrats being perceived more as a white collar corporate brand. Unless of course they roll out a new sub-brand, but that would be a risky strategy. Interesting also that many of the ANZ buildings are typically older (more earthquake risk?), with some being old Postbank buildings, than National Bank which generally have modern, well fitted-out buildings by comparison. Will be interesting to see what happens re the areas that have both ANZ and National Bank buildings.

Most people on here seem to think that somehow the personality and demeanour of a bank employee will change because they are wearing a different uniform... Get a grip.

You need to get a grip.
ANZ culture is quite different to traditional NBNZ culture.
Culture drives an organisation from the top.
ANZ have got rid of all the NBNZ people at the top and put ANZ people in.
I have worked in the field of commerce for 36 years and have much experience with bankers ovr that time.
I have always found ANZ negative to deal with.

You obviously haven't flown Jetstar then! The attitudes of the flight crew between Air N.Z. (great) and Jetstar (abysmal) are light years apart. I also recall flying Freedom Air several times when it was around, and even though it was owned by Air N.Z. the flight crew definitely had a more relaxed, "cheery" attitude. So, yes, wearing a different uniform does make a difference because different brands do have different cultures. Sure, ANZ has owned NBNZ for years but they have effectively operated at the coal face as two separate entities with different cultures. NBNZ staff definitely have a different attitude to customer service than ANZ, which is a reflection of the respective historic corporate cultures.

That is exacly right, unfortunately both service and demenaure will can it be the same when National Bank staff are superior as is the National Bank.I bank with National Bank AND WILL NOT ONLY BE SORRY BUT I WILL MOVE TO A WHOLEOWNED NEW ZEALAND BANK ..A LOSS TO NAT/ANZ.

It's called brand loyalty. and marketing gurus spend millions developing it.

The other thing that amazes me is the number of people who seem to go to a branch to do their banking? I haven't actually been into a branch for ages, feels like years. Must be all the people without a computer at home or at work?

My comments are not based on going into a bank and dealing with tellers.
They are based on dealing with banks on behalf of people who do business there.
My experience is over 36 years.
ANZ experiences are bad over that period.
Out local Westpac branch is another I avoid dealing with.
The agribusiness team are great but the branch manager and retail section are full of red tape nonsense.
WEstpac is also vastly undermanned in terms of customers versus tellers.
ASB by comparison is great at teller level.
So is NBNZ.
BNZ has really pulled its socks up and is now excellent to deal with.
NBNZ locally recently appointed a new manager,ex ANZ of course,and there was immediate nitpicking.
The culture had changed.
aNz taking ove NBNZ is like a movie where aliens take over the country and infiltrate it when you are not watching.
Someone can tell me how many people in senior management are ANZ and how many are National.
Have a look at the photos on the ANZ website and let me know.

Brilliant news, and kudos to ANZ National MD - definitely have balls, compared to previous predecessors!

ANZ and National banks will merge as ANZ - all bank frontline staff will keep their jobs and all current sponsorships will continue.

Anonymous @ 37

To follow your line of argument --I ask if it doesn't matter about uniform , culture etc why have the ANZ spent millions on their brand in recent years ? If it doesn't matter then they have wasted millions .

Um.. precisely. Companies advertise to generate business and brand awareness.

The point is - the person you've been dealing with in the branch will not change. The National Bank staff are not being replaced by clones - they're the same people.

But they are puppets operating under ANZ culture.
They do what their masters tell them to do.
They are not operating under NBNZ historic culture.
You go back 30 years ago and your average small town NBNZ manager was a much more approachable specimen than your dull ANZ manager.
Nothing has changed.
You ask NBNZ to assist you with some missing data...say a bank statement...and nothing is a problem.
You ask ANZ and your query is handled by Wellington,who grill you on your right to ask for it.
We recently had a procedural query from the new ANZ clone manager at our NBNZ branch.
With previous NBNZ managers,such a procedure had never been an issue.
Westpac is as bad as ANZ in this area.

In the logo the horse has never been looking at where it's going - only back over its shoulder. Not a clever horse.

A few years ago I wanted to buy a race horse and went to my manager to borrow some money. He said no, so I took him outside and showed him the black horse at the door. I told him that his bank was in the horse business but he still said "No".
He's a wise dude, a good friend now, and I will miss him. Wonder if the ANZ guy will lend money for a horse. Probably I will try him...