About the merger

  • Why are we proposing a merger?

    People’s Choice exists for one reason: to support members to achieve their financial goals. The merger with Heritage will allow us to do that even better. By bringing our two organisations together, we will have the scale needed to deliver more for members through better products, services, digital capabilities and competitive pricing.

    The Boards of People’s Choice and Heritage unanimously agree that the merger is in the best interests of members. Following a comprehensive due diligence process, the Boards are of the view that the merger is a compelling opportunity that would enable us to do more for our members by combining two member-driven and complementary businesses while increasing support for community and environmental initiatives.

    There is no better partner for People’s Choice than Heritage. Not only are we alike in size, we also share very similar values, goals and an absolute member focus. This will be a true merger of equals where we bring the best of the two organisations together to benefit members.

    Together, we will create a national member-owned banking organisation with 720,000 members, 1,800 employees, $22.5 billion in assets and 95 branches across South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territory.
  • What will each organisation bring to the merged organisation?

    Both People’s Choice and Heritage offer particular strengths which will benefit the merged organisation.

    For example, the significant investment People’s Choice has recently made in digital technology means the two organisations will be able to bring their operational systems together more efficiently than would otherwise be the case. 

    Similarly, Heritage’s experience in business banking, credit cards, payments and broker relationships will substantially benefit members and help attract new members.

    With size, geographic reach, culture and member focus aligning so well, there is no better partner for People’s Choice than Heritage. Together, we will be stronger, more secure and capable of providing more for our members.
  • Who is Heritage?

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

    Heritage has a proud track-record of serving the interests of its members, with a history stretching back 147 years to its origins in the Queensland city of Toowoomba. 

    Today, Heritage has evolved into a national force in member-owned banking, with $12.2 billion in assets, 330,000 members, approximately 900 employees, 62 branches and mini branches across Queensland and New South Wales, and a national network of broker partners, serving the nation from its Toowoomba headquarters.

    Heritage 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 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.
  • What member benefits have been identified?

    Both organisations are confident that members will receive significant benefits from the merger, including access to one of Australia’s largest member-owned branch networks, a wider range of award-winning, competitively-priced products and services, and modern, secure digital banking, backed by ongoing investment to meet members’ evolving needs. 

    Further detail on these benefits will be communicated to members ahead of a member vote on the proposed merger.
  • If the merger goes ahead, will we keep our mutual status?

    Yes. We have always existed to serve our members and we have always been 100% member-owned. And both will remain true through the merger with Heritage.

    The merged organisation will absolutely remain entirely member-owned and focused on member outcomes, rather than dividends to shareholders. Mutuality is in our DNA, and it’s in Heritage’s as well.
  • Is this a takeover?

    No. 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 Board of the merged organisation will comprise an equal number of directors from People’s Choice and Heritage.
  • Who will be the CEO and Chairman?

    People’s Choice and Heritage have agreed to a robust governance structure to oversee the management and strategic direction of the merged organisation.

    Michael Cameron, the current People’s Choice Chairman, will be appointed as Chairman and Kerry Betros, the current Heritage Chairman, will be appointed Deputy Chairman.

    Peter Lock, the current CEO of Heritage, will serve as CEO of the merged organisation and Steve Laidlaw, currently CEO of People’s Choice, will be appointed Deputy CEO. 

    Mr Lock will retire 18 months after the establishment of the merged organisation, when Mr Laidlaw will be appointed as CEO.

    This arrangement will provide seamless leadership and deep expertise for the merged organisation during the integration period and into the future.

    This strong Board and Executive partnership will provide stability, local experience and long-term succession planning, as well as reflecting the fact that this is a true merger of equals.
  • How many Board members will there be?

    Both organisations will have equal Board representation, with all current directors being appointed to the merged organisation’s Board. This will bring the total number of directors to 12. That number will be reduced to 8 directors approximately three years after the Merger Date. 

    The Board will provide stability, strong banking experience, local knowledge and expertise, and a platform for long-term succession planning.
  • What will happen to our name and brand?

    If members vote in favour of the merger there will be an initial period where both brands are maintained and following that period a single brand will be created that reflects the deep roots and values of both People’s Choice and Heritage.
  • Will the merger result in branch closures?

    No. There will be no branch closures as a result of the merger. Both People’s Choice and Heritage operate in different geographies so there is no overlap of branch operations.
  • What happens next?

    Detailed information about the merger proposal will be provided to members ahead of a member vote expected to take place towards the end of 2022. 

    In the meantime, we remain focused on business as usual and continuing to support our members.

    We will provide regular updates via our branches, social media channels and website.
  • What does the merger mean for members?

    People’s Choice and Heritage exist for the same reason: to support our members to reach their financial goals. 

    By combining the best of both organisations, we’ll keep our individual strengths and what makes us unique, while using the power of membership scale to improve benefits for members. The merged organisation will retain an absolute focus on members and a commitment to remaining member-owned.

    The merger will provide the scale needed to ensure members continue to benefit from competitive financial products, personalised customer service and modern, secure banking technology – all with the care that only a strong, sustainable, member-owned banking organisation can provide.

    Together, we will be large enough to offer more for members and small enough to retain the personal touch.
  • How will members benefit?

    The Boards of People’s Choice and Heritage unanimously agree that the merger is in the best interests of members.

    Members will receive significant benefits from the merger, including access to one of Australia’s largest member-owned branch networks, a wider range of award-winning, competitively-priced products and services, modern, secure digital banking, backed by ongoing investment to meet members’ evolving needs. 

    Further detail on these benefits will be communicated to members ahead of a member vote on the proposed merger.
  • What will happen to my membership when the merger takes place?

    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 merger proceed, over time as our systems are integrated, members will gain access to a wider range of award-winning, competitively-priced products and services.
  • Do members get to vote on the merger?

    Yes. Both People’s Choice and Heritage members will have the opportunity to vote on the proposed merger at a vote expected to take place towards the end of 2022.
  • What do members of both People’s Choice and Heritage need to do now?

    Members do not need to do anything at this stage. 

    Once a decision has been made on the timing of the member vote, further information will be provided to members. In the meantime, we remain focused on business as usual and continuing to support our members.

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