Will choice suffer as banks band together?

A number of major mergers of Australian banks could spell bad news for consumer choice, it has been warned.

A report on the topic from the Age comes after the announcement yesterday that Commonwealth is going to scoop up BankWest for some $2.1 billion, taking it out of the hands of British owner HBOS.

So too, the merger of Westpac and St George has left some spectators worried that competition could soon start to suffer.

Speaking to the paper, electrical engineer Paul Jones, 37, expressed concern that the offers that enticed him to open up a BankWest bank account may be taken off the shelf as a result of the merger.

“I opened my first account with BankWest ten minutes ago because they don’t have monthly charges for my salary going in. If they change that, I’ll go to someone else,” he said.

Commenting on the imminent merger of St George and Westpac, both parties have insisted that they will continue to keep up their commitment to customer care and competitive pricing on items such as low-interest home loans and savings accounts.ADNFCR-1761-ID-18887222-ADNFCR