People's Choice exploring an exciting merger opportunity with Heritage Bank
Hi – I’m Steve Laidlaw – CEO of People’s Choice.
As a People’s Choice member, I wanted to share some important and exciting news with you.
We have announced that we’re in discussions with Heritage Bank – a similar-sized customer-owned banking organisation based in Queensland – to explore a merger of our two organisations.
Heritage Bank’s structure is essentially the same as ours. It is a member-owned organisation that exists solely for the benefit of its members. Like us, it does not have shareholders which expect the payment of dividends.
Both People’s Choice and Heritage Bank are absolutely committed to maintaining the proposed merged organisation as a mutual. That is to say that we will remain entirely member-owned and solely focused on member outcomes, rather than dividends to shareholders.
Like all successful businesses, People’s Choice has a history of changing to meet the needs of our members and our operating environment – through the introduction of new products and services and other innovations.
We have also merged with more than a dozen like-minded mutuals since our foundation in 1949. This has ensured that we have continued to have the size and scale to provide products and services in the way our members want.
The opportunity to explore a merger with Heritage Bank is another example of our ongoing evolution.
It would be a true pairing of equals. We are both strong mutuals with approximately the same number of members, employees and assets.
We both have strong values, with complementary geographical footprints, as we operate in different locations across Australia.
We are exploring this opportunity with Heritage Bank because it would significantly strengthen our organisation and enable us to deliver more to you, our members, and the communities within which we both live and operate.
Being a mutual, with an absolute focus on our members, is fundamental to both People’s Choice and Heritage. If a merger were to proceed, it would create Australia’s leading customer-owned banking organisation – one that would remain proudly member-owned and committed to serving you, our members.
A detailed and thorough due diligence process is now underway to assess the benefits to members.
Our members’ interests will be the most important consideration in this process, and you’ll have the final say through a member vote early next year if we decide to proceed.
People’s Choice and Heritage Bank have already made an early commitment that should the merger proceed, both organisations will be equally represented on the Board. There will be no branch closures or non-executive redundancies as a result of the merger. Furthermore, we will create a dual head office structure, maintaining our head offices in Adelaide and Toowoomba.
I know you may have questions.
We will communicate with you directly to ensure you remain informed throughout this process, and we’ll also have information available on our website.
In the meantime, please get in touch if you have any questions or feedback.
While we explore this opportunity, you have my commitment that we remain focused on our business, and continuing to support you, our members.
Thank you for being a People’s Choice member. I look forward to keeping in touch.