Bank Australia and Qudos Bank looking to merge

New entity would boast $17 billion in assets, and 300,000 customers

Bank Australia and Qudos Bank looking to merge

The recent trend of mergers in the customer-owned banking industry continues, with an announcement made today that Bank Australia and Qudos Bank intend to merge.

In a joint media release,  Bank Australia and Qudos Bank said in initiating the potential merger, the boards of both banks had identified strong cultural and values alignment, and an “enduring commitment to customer ownership that puts customers’ best interests at the heart of their operations”.

“The consolidation of similarly aligned purpose driven banks in the customer-owned banking sector creates the opportunity for enhanced outcomes for customers,” the boards stated.

“A merger between these two banks would create one of Australia’s largest customer-owned banks, and provide a strong platform to accelerate the organic growth both banks have achieved in recent years.

“A merged entity would benefit customers through increased scale and greater ability to invest in enhanced products, services and digital banking technology.”

Unifying  Bank Australia and Qudos Bank would create a bank supporting 300,000 customers with total assets exceeding $17 billion and served by almost 900 employees.

The boards said Bank Australia’s historic strength in Victoria combined with Qudos Bank’s strong presence in New South Wales opened up new growth opportunities for a merged entity to extend the benefits of customer-owned banking to even more Australians.

The banks also shared aligned commitments to achieve net zero carbon emissions and “a successful merger will enable the banks to drive even greater positive impact for people and the planet”.

Bank Australia chair Steve Ferguson (pictured above left) said both banks had long and proud histories through their credit union origins which lay at the heart of modern customer-owned banks.

“We both recognise the value of cooperative principles that have helped us create real benefit and positive impact for our customers over many years,” Ferguson said.

“We’re excited by the opportunity to jointly build on our commitments to people and the planet, including our 2035 net zero target. A merger will enable Bank Australia and Qudos Bank to create an even stronger and enduring bank that continues to support its customers and the broader community well into the future.”

Qudos Bank chair Jennifer Dalitz (pictured above right) said the two banks mad ideal merger partners with their shared focus on values-led, customer first banking.

“The opportunity to bring two financially strong and growing customer owned banks together to create Australia’s leading purpose driven bank is an exciting one for our employees and customers,” Dalitz said.

“Through increased size and scale we’ll build on the already strong foundations of each bank to deliver even greater experiences for our customers, and increase our reach bringing purpose driven banking to more Australians.”

Benefits of the proposed merger of Bank Australia and Qudos Bank

The banks highlighted the following benefits of a merger:

  • Increased scale and investment in improved customer experience, with lending and contact centre teams across Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and the Latrobe Valley
  • Access to a wider range of products and services
  • Commitment to enhanced digital experience, including increased investment in cybersecurity and fraud/scam prevention
  • No branch closures as a result of the proposed merger
  • The merged entity to be the employer of choice for circa 900 people
  • Increased scale investments in impact for people and the planet as a leading purpose driven bank
  • Members will have a final say through a member vote in late 2024 or early 2025 should plans proceed

Key aspects of the proposed merger

  • The proposed board composition with Dalitz (Qudos Bank) as inaugural chair and Ferguson (Bank Australia) as inaugural deputy chair of the merged entity. The merged board will include equal representation from both banks and will ensure retention of the required skills and experience.
  • Damien Walsh (Bank Australia) (pictured below) to become CEO and managing director, while Brendan Wright (Qudos Bank) will have the opportunity to continue with the merged entity in an executive capacity.

  • All non-executive employees will be offered or have the opportunity to apply for roles within the merged entity including redeployment opportunities where appropriate.
  • Head office operations will be split between Collingwood (Victoria) and Mascot (NSW), while all current branches will be retained and reviewed by the merged entity to support customer service requirements.
  • Retention of both brands in the period following the merger, with an intention for future review in due course.

Bank Australia and Qudos Bank have now signed a memorandum of understanding now signed, and will undertake detailed due diligence to thoroughly assess the benefits of the potential merger for customers.

If both boards agree to proceed following due diligence, members will be asked to vote on the proposed merger later in 2024 or early 2025, once all the appropriate regulatory reviews and approvals are complete.

The banks said members of both banks will be kept informed of progress and will be provided with further information to support them to make an informed decision if the merger is brought to a vote.

What do you think of the proposed merger of Bank Australia and Qudos Bank? Comment below