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Treasurer green-lights NAB, Citi deal

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has signed off on the big four bank’s acquisition of Citi Australia, pushing the deal further towards completion.

NAB has confirmed that it secured the Treasurer’s approval last week on its proposed $1.2 billion purchase of Citigroup’s Australian retail banking arm, in a statement to Mortgage Business. 

“NAB welcomes this next step in the transaction process,” the bank stated.

The tick from Treasury has come after NAB and Citi cleared the competition review from the ACCC in November.

The two banks are now waiting for regulatory approvals from APRA, with NAB aiming to wrap up the acquisition by mid-2022.

Previously, the groups expected to finish the deal by March.

Following the acquisition, NAB would become the dominant white label credit card supplier for a number of commercial partners, benefiting from Citi’s place in the local market.

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It would also continue to compete with its commercial partners in the consumer-facing market.

However, the ACCC had concluded the transaction would not substantially lessen competition in the banking sector, after its review found no concerns with the groups’ overlapping market segments, including home loans and credit cards.

Senior management and around 800 Citigroup employees would join NAB.

NAB confirmed that it was seeking to buy the business in July last year, after Citi placed the consumer bank up for sale in April.

Citi had also entered the buy now, pay later market with the launch of its product Spot. in October.

[Related: ANZ mortgage book continues decline]

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