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New bank boss faces challenges in changing market

Incoming Heritage Bank CEO Peter Lock says a key challenge of his new role will be guiding the lender through industry-wide changes that are impacting the sector.

Mr Lock acknowledged that the banking industry is going through “many challenges at present, in all the main areas of regulation, competition, customer focus and economic activity”.

“We need to have a strong focus on our balance sheet management, a strong focus on providing a great experience for our members, a keen eye on our product innovation and a passion to be different from the other banks,” he said.

Speaking about his new role as the head of the ASX-listed bank, Mr Lock said he was excited to join an organisation that had built its business on helping people to achieve their dreams, whether that be home ownership, a safe and secure retirement, business aspirations or simple savings goals.

“Heritage is a great bank, with a very strong customer focus, with passionate people and an innovative product set,” he said. “Heritage is the country's largest customer-owned bank and we have a unique opportunity to leverage from this and spread the Heritage Bank story – who wouldn't be excited by that!”

Mr Lock’s appointment follows yesterday’s announcement that ANZ CEO Mike Smith will be stepping down on 1 January 2016 after eight years at the helm of the major bank.

Current ANZ chief financial officer Shayne Elliot was named as his successor.

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ANZ chairman David Gonski said Mr Smith had transformed ANZ into Australia’s only international bank with a focus on Asia Pacific.

“Mike was appointed chief executive as the world was entering the global financial crisis,” Mr Gonski said.

“Despite those headwinds and a volatile environment for banks around the world, his leadership has seen ANZ continue to grow market share in Australia and establish a strong, growing New Zealand business under one brand.

“He has transformed ANZ into one of Asia Pacific’s leading banks with operations in 34 countries, delivering strong outcomes for our customers and for our shareholders.”

Incoming CEO Mr Elliott said he was honoured to have the opportunity to lead ANZ.

“ANZ is a bank that plays an important role supporting our customers and communities in 34 countries,” he said. “Our people are guided by a clear strategy and a strong set of values. I look forward to working with Mike during the transition period and to building on the foundation he has established.”

Mr Smith said he was proud of what the management team and everyone at ANZ had achieved over the past eight years.

“Our succession process saw a smooth transition to our new chairman last year and now is the appropriate time for me to step down,” he said.

“Shayne and I have worked closely together for the last six years, particularly in his last three years as CFO. I know he will make an exceptional chief executive.”

Mr Smith will be retained as a non-executive adviser to the board, initially for one year.

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