ACCC greenlights NAB’s buy of 86 400

  • By Christine St Anne

The competition watchdog has greenlighted the planned acquisition of 86 400 by the National Australia Bank. 

In January, NAB announced that it would buy 86 400 for $220 million. 

ACCC chair Rod Sims had previously highlighted concerns about the potential lack of competion from banks buying fitnechs.

In a statement on Tuesday, Sims said: “Innovative fintechs play an increasingly critical role in the market, challenging the established banks, leading to more innovative and cheaper banking for consumers. 

“We therefore examined the proposed acquisition particularly closely, including extensive consultation with industry participants, given the important role of that innovation,” Sims added. 

These industry participants included banks, non-bank lenders, fintechs, mortgage brokers, industry and consumer bodies

There were only limited concerns with the transaction.  

“Market feedback suggested that while 86 400 is innovative, particularly in reducing the time and effort in completing home loan applications, there are a number of other businesses with similar offerings or the ability to replicate them.

“These other competitors continue to bring a similar disruptive influence to the market,” Sims added. 

Supporting the ACCC’s decision, was the fact that some banks and non-bank lenders outside the big four have already invested heavily in technology to improve their services to consumers. 

“Whilst in this instance we found that the removal of 86 400 is unlikely to substantially lessen competition in the market, we will continue to closely scrutinise proposed acquisitions of emerging competitors, particularly by major banks,” Sims said.

He hglighted ACCC’s home loan inquiry reports which showed the lack of competition among the big four. 

“Therefore any acquisition of a rival or potential rival by any of the big four needs to be very closely considered.”