February 8, 2018 / 3:49 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 2-ANZ shuts Laos retail products, services in Asia strategy push

* Last day for ANZ’s Laos retail products, services is March 30

* Says Laos move to impact about 20 employees

* Bank trying to find them redeployment opportunities within ANZ (Adds company comment on jobs in 4th paragraph)

By Aditya Soni

Feb 8 (Reuters) - Australia and New Zealand Banking Group said it would close its retail products and services in Laos to focus on its institutional banking business, in what is another step by the lender towards diminishing its footprint in Asia.

Australia’s third-largest lender by market capitalisation has been slowly retreating from Asia, having sold its wealth and retail businesses in five markets to Singapore’s DBS Group Holdings in 2016. It has also quit its retail banking business in the Philippines and Vietnam.

The last day of service for its Laos retail products and services will be March 30, ANZ said on Thursday.

A bank spokesperson said the move would impact about 20 employees and that the lender was trying to find them redeployment opportunities within ANZ.

The move is in line with big Australian banks trying to shed capital-intensive assets amid stiffer bank capital rules.

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 ($6 billion).

Its financial regulator raised the target for major banks’ Tier 1 ratio by 150 basis points to at least 10.5 percent, a benchmark banks are expected to meet by January 2020.

ANZ said in its full-year results last year that its common equity Tier-1 capital ratio at Sept. 30 was 10.6 percent.

Shares of the lender closed up 0.8 percent at A$27.99, versus the wider market that edged up 0.2 percent. (Reporting by Aditya Soni in Bengaluru; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier and Himani Sarkar)

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