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May 24, 2002

AUSTRALIA: Coles Myer nears completion of financial services alliance

Australian retailer Coles Myer is close to finalising a banking partnership with either Westpac Banking Corp. or HSBC Group’s Australian subsidiary. The Westpac submission is believed more likely to succeed. “There's no final decision yet. But this is a sensible way forward for them [Coles Myer] in terms of leveraging off their customer base,” an industry source told Dow Jones “HSBC made a bonafide run at this but there's a very strong relationship there with Westpac,” the source said.

Australian retailer Coles Myer is close to finalising a banking partnership with either Westpac Banking Corp. or HSBC Group’s Australian subsidiary.

The Westpac submission is believed more likely to succeed. “There’s no final decision yet. But this is a sensible way forward for them [Coles Myer] in terms of leveraging off their customer base,” an industry source told Dow Jones “HSBC made a bonafide run at this but there’s a very strong relationship there with Westpac,” the source said.

The chosen banking partner will create a range of Coles Myer-branded personal finance products including deposit and mortgage accounts.

A report in Friday’s Australian Financial Review said Coles Myer will select its bank partner within four weeks, as it seeks to overhaul its struggling financial services strategy. The upcoming alliance has put a question mark over what will happen to Coles Myer’s existing relationship with GE Capital, which finances and manages the company’s store card program, the newspaper said.

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