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Suncorp reviewing options for banking operations

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Suncorp has responded to speculation that it is looking at a potential divestment of its banking division by saying it is reviewing “strategic alternatives” for the business.

“As previously advised, Suncorp, from time to time, reviews its strategic alternatives in relation to all of its businesses and is currently doing so in respect of its banking operations,” the company said in a statement released to the Australian Securities Exchange this morning.

The Australian Financial Review reported today that the company had asked investment bank Barrenjoey Capital Partners to look at options for the bank.

Banking contributed a profit after tax of $419 million last financial year, while Australian insurance earnings were $547 million and New Zealand contributed $200 million.

Suncorp sold its life operations in February 2019 for $725 million and last year exited its wealth business as the company continued to simplify its portfolio and hone its focus.

Speculation around a separation of the banking businesses has often swirled in the past, given that Suncorp is the only major Australian underwriter to combine banking and insurance operations.