What has been announced

  • Why are we exploring a merger?

    We’re exploring this opportunity because we believe it is a unique opportunity to merge as two equals to create an organisation that will deliver more for our members. 

    No other merger partner offers the level of cultural and strategic alignment that Heritage Bank does. 

    The organisations have complementary capabilities and geographic footprints and we’re both strong values-driven organisations that are committed to mutuality, our members and employees, as well as maintaining a strong presence in our local communities. 

    The Boards of People’s Choice and Heritage Bank believe that exploring a merger would be in the interests of members. By bringing our two organisations together, we would have the size and scale to deliver more for our members through enhanced products, services, digital capabilities and competitive pricing. 

    At this early stage we believe the complementary capability of the two entities would provide members with access to a broader, more diversified distribution network across branches and brokers as well as greater access to additional products and payment capabilities. 
  • What will each business bring to the combined entity?

    The proposed merger has a strong strategic rationale given the complementary capabilities and geographic footprint of both organisations and the potential for a significant increase in scale, unlocking a broader range of products and services and improved access to enhanced digital capabilities for both People’s Choice and Heritage Bank members. 
    The expanded geographic footprint across SA, NT, VIC, QLD and NSW would provide new growth opportunities for the merged entity. 
  • Who is Heritage Bank?

    Heritage Bank is one of Australia’s largest and most successful customer-owned banks.

    Heritage Bank has a proud track record of serving the interests of its members, with a history stretching back 146 years to its origins in the Queensland city of Toowoomba. 

    Today, Heritage Bank has evolved into a national force in banking, with $11.9 billion in assets, 320,000 members, 800 employees, 60 branches and mini-branches across Queensland and in Sydney, and a national network of broker partners, serving the nation from its Toowoomba headquarters. 

    Heritage Bank takes great pride in living its “people first” philosophy as a cornerstone of its culture and is deeply committed to supporting the communities in which it operates.

    Heritage Bank regularly ranks among the top Australian financial institutions when it comes to meeting the needs of members, with levels of customer satisfaction, trust and advocacy that are among the leaders of the financial services sector.
  • If the merger goes ahead, will we keep our mutual status?

    Yes. Being a mutual is fundamental to who we are. This merger is being driven by our commitment to mutuality and retaining a committed member focus. If the merger proceeds, it would create one of Australia’s largest customer-owned banking organisations.
  • Is this a takeover?

    No. People’s Choice is not taking over Heritage Bank, nor is Heritage Bank taking over People’s Choice. It will be a true merger of equals. This is reflected in the fact that dual head offices will be retained in Adelaide and Toowoomba and that the new merged organisation will comprise an equal number of directors from Heritage and People’s Choice.
  • Who will be the CEO and Chair?

    The decision regarding the Chair and CEO of the merged organisation will be made over the coming months and following the due diligence process. It is intended that these proposed appointments will be advised to employees and members well before the member vote on the merger in the first half of 2022.
  • What will happen to our name and brand?

    It is early days, and both organisations are focused on ensuring a merger would be in members’ best interests. If a merger were to proceed, we envisage that there would be an initial period where both brands are maintained but that ultimately a single brand would be created that reflects the deep roots and values of both People’s Choice and Heritage Bank. 
  • What happens next?

    A due diligence process is now underway. Should both Boards agree to proceed, the proposed merger will be put to both groups of members for approval in the first half of 2022. 

    Further detail with regards to the timing and process will be provided to members by email and traditional mail in due course. 

    We will provide regular updates via our branches, social media channels, and website.

What this means for members

  • What does the merger mean for members?

    Our members’ interests will be the most important consideration in this process. 

    We believe that by bringing our two organisations together, we would have the size and scale to deliver more for our members through enhanced products, services, digital capabilities and competitive pricing.

    Importantly any merger would be structured as a merger of equals and the combined entity will still be customer-owned which means our focus will always be our members. 
  • How will members benefit?

    The Boards of People’s Choice and Heritage Bank believe that a merger would be in the interests of members. 

    At this early stage we believe the complementary capability of the two entities would provide members with access to a broader, more diversified distribution network across branches and brokers as well as greater access to additional products and payment capabilities. 

    Members would also benefit from an expanded national network of over 90 branches proudly serviced by approximately 1,700 people. 

    A detailed and thorough due diligence process is now underway and should we decide to proceed members will receive detailed information on the anticipated benefits. 

    Ultimately it will be up to members to decide whether we proceed with a merger or not.
  • Do members get to vote on the merger?

    Should the due diligence process indicate the merger to be in the best interest of members and we decide to proceed, both People’s Choice and Heritage Bank members will have the opportunity to vote on the proposed merger which would be expected to occur in the first half of 2022. 
  • What will happen to my membership when the merger completes?

    Current members of People’s Choice and Heritage Bank will be, or become, members of the combined entity with both groups of members having the same rights.
  • What does it mean for current product features and services?

    There will be no immediate change to current product features and services to members. 

    Should the due diligence process indicate the merger to be in the best interest of members, we expect the best features of the respective brands’ products and services will become available to the broader member base over time.
  • What do members of both People’s Choice and Heritage Bank need to do now?

    Members do not need to do anything at this stage. Any decision made to proceed with a merger would only be made if it is deemed in the best interests of our members. In the meantime, we remain focused on business as usual and continuing to support our members. 

    Should the merger proceed to a member vote, further information will be provided to members including details of the timing and process. 

What this means for our community

  • Will the merger result in branch closures?

    Both People’s Choice and Heritage Bank operate in different geographies so there is no overlap of branch operations. Therefore, there will be no branch closures as a result of the merger. 
  • Will our headquarters move?

    The organisations will operate dual head offices in Adelaide and Toowoomba with a distribution of member-facing, member support and corporate functions across the companies’ other office locations.
  • What does this mean for the community sponsorships we have in place?

    All sponsorships will continue and there will be additional capacity to support new ones, too. 

    We will of course remain deeply committed to supporting our members and our local communities, including through our community sponsorships and corporate social responsibility programs.
  • Will there be any job losses or redundancies?

    Our people are our strength. Their skills, dedication and commitment to our members are critical to our ongoing success. 

    Both organisations have committed to no non-executive redundancies as a result of the merger.

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