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Treasurer rejects lender acquisition

A non-bank’s proposed acquisition of a Queensland-based lender has fallen through after Treasurer Josh Frydenberg deemed it was not in the national interest.

Non-bank lender Firstmac’s proposed acquisition of Maleny Credit Union (MCU) has been rejected by Commonwealth Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.

The proposal would have seen Firstmac acquire MCU for $7 million, of which approximately $4 million would have been paid to MCU members, with each member receiving a payment of approximately $1,200.

According to Maleny’s CEO, Tony Ziemek, the proposed acquisition, which had been delayed by Treasury for several months following shareholder approval, was rejected due to concerns relating to “ownership issues that may have wider implications for the banking system”.

“This has been a very lengthy process, and the board are deeply disappointed that such a beneficial outcome for our members has been rejected,” he said.

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Mr Ziemek said arguments for "community benefit and competition with the major banks" were not enough to quell the Treasurer’s concerns, despite “a similar transaction receiving Treasury approval in the past”.

Firstmac was initially reported to have been interested in acquiring Goldfields Money Ltd (now known as BNK Bank) before it was successfully acquired by mortgage aggregator Finsure Group.

MCU to pursue new acquirer

In a separate letter to members, MCU confirmed that it is now seeking an alternative acquirer.  

“We have begun a process to identify a suitable organisation that can best meet our financial and social needs in a timely manner,” Mr Ziemek said.

The MCU CEO said the credit union aims to have an acquisition “substantially completed” by 30 June 2020.  

Mr Ziemek said in the meantime, MCU would continue to operate independently.

Mortgage Business reached out to Firstmac for a statement regarding its future ambitions, but the non-bank is yet to issue a response. 

[Related: Lender takeover put on the backburner]

Treasurer rejects lender acquisition
Treasurer rejects lender acquisition
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