Heritage Bank and People’s Choice Credit Union officially merged on 1 March 2023 to create a new national mutual that offers a compelling alternative to the big banks.
Since then, we’ve wasted no time moving forward with the actions needed to start delivering on the commitments made to our members during the merger process.
The new entity becomes Australia’s leading customer-owned financial institution, with 720,000 members, 1,900 employees, more than $23 billion in assets and 95 branches across South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territory.
Legally known as Heritage and People’s Choice Limited, the merged entity will continue trading under the existing brand names of Heritage Bank and People’s Choice for an interim period of approximately 12 months.
After that, a fresh brand name will be adopted to reflect its status as a genuine alternative to the listed banks for all Australians.
Chief Executive Peter Lock said the merger was a milestone moment for the Australian banking sector.
“We’ve brought together two of Australia’s most successful customer-owned financial institutions to create a strong national mutual alternative to the big banks,” Mr Lock said.
“The reality is Australians only have two choices when it comes to banking – they can go with a listed bank, which has profit maximisation as its top priority, or they can go for a customer-owned bank, which is solely focused on meeting the needs of its members.”
During the lead-up to the member vote last year, the two organisations set out a number of key commitments that would be upheld if the merger went ahead.
The organisation is now delivering on those commitments and will continue to keep members updated on the benefits that the merger will provide over time.
Already, we can report that after merging, we have delivered on the following commitments:
- We remain 100% member owned and fiercely committed to the benefits of the mutual model.
- We have equal Board representation from Heritage and People’s Choice
- We have an executive leadership team with equal representation from Heritage and People’s Choice
- We have maintained dual head offices in Toowoomba and Adelaide – and have just purchased the site for our new Toowoomba office
- We have engaged with members through surveys for input into the development of the new brand
- Our focus on valuing our people began with the launch of our Shine internal peer recognition program from Day 1 of the merger, which has been enthusiastically embraced.
- There have been no non-executive redundancies as a result of the merger. Nor have any employees been forced to relocate.
- There have been no branch closures since merger.
- Our commitment to community and our current sponsorships has been maintained.
- We have completed and launched a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) under the People’s Choice brand, and are well progressed on a RAP for Heritage
- Both People’s Choice and Heritage confirmed as carbon neutral
- We have introduced Saturday trading at selected People’s Choice brand branches and continue to offer that service at selected Heritage branches
IMAGE CAPTION: Chairman Michael Cameron (left) and CEO Peter Lock celebrate the official completion of the merger that has created Heritage and People’s Choice Limited.