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Smith sees delays in Asia push

Smith sees delays in Asia push

(5 August 2008 – Asia) ANZ chief executive Mike Smith has admitted that the bank’s planned push into Asia will be delayed due to the recent increase in bad debt provisions. Smith said that the recent upgrade in provisions by A$1.2b impacted on ANZ’s share price, meaning that the bank cannot currently afford Asian businesses.

As a result, Smith said, ANZ’s push into Asia will have to be delayed.

Extending the reach into Asia has been one of the key items on Smith’s agenda since he started with the bank late last year. He has substantial experience as a banker in Asia having held several senior roles with HSBC in the region.

But Smith believes that the five year growth plan based on a drive into Asia was still achievable, even if a few of those years prove to be bumpier than others.

Speaking in response to this news, ANZ has confirmed that the recent upgrades to its core banking systems in Asia will continue as planned, following recent successful roll out of the system in Laos.
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