Japanese-owned Sony Bank is increasingly likely to select former Westpac Banking Corporation Ltd veteran Rob Coombe to lead its Australian operations if the bank gives the green-light to a move into the local mortgage market, according to The Australian Financial Review.

The Australia Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) granted Sony permission to conduct a feasibility study into establishing an online operation targeting Australian consumers, with mortgages as a particular focus. The permission also allows the Japanese bank to have a local “representative office”, the report added.

The entrance of Sony into Australia’s $1 trillion-plus mortgage market would inject renewed competition into the local mortgage market, dominated by the four largest banks and their control of 90 per cent of new mortgages.

Mr Coombe left Westpac last November, and is reportedly consulting with Sony as it assesses the Australian market. He led Westpac’s BT Financial Group’s Asian funds business in the late 1990s.

Japan’s three largest banks, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group and the Mizuho Group have all done preliminary analysis on expanding into Australia, but Sony is seen as the closest to launching a local operation, according to the AFR.

Source: businessspectator.com.au