ANZ shuts Laos retail products and services in Asia strategy push

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(Feb 8): Australia and New Zealand Banking Group said on Thursday it would close its retail products and services in Laos to focus on its institutional banking business in the Southeast Asian country.

The move is part of its strategy to simplify business and improve capital efficiency in Asia, said ANZ, Australia's third-largest lender by market capitalisation.

The last day of service for its Laos retail products and services will be March 30, the bank said.

The company did not say how many jobs will be affected by the move.

ANZ has been slowly retreating from Asia, having sold its wealth and retail businesses in five Asian markets to DBS Group Holdings in 2016, and since then also quitting its retail banking business in the Philippines and Vietnam.

Big Australian banks are trying to shed capital-intensive assets amid stiffer bank capital rules.

In July last year, Australia set new rules for higher capital on its largest banks with targets that would imply a combined capital shortfall of as much as A$8 billion (US$6.12 billion), and raised the target of major banks' Tier 1 ratio by 150 basis points to at least 10.5% by 2020.

ANZ said in its full-year results last year that its common equity Tier-1 capital ratio at Sept. 30 was 10.6%, above the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority's (APRA) target.

ANZ shares edged up 0.3% to A$27.86 in a flat market.