Merger creates mutual banking history in Australia

A financial powerhouse with more than $20bn in total assets has been created

Merger creates mutual banking history in Australia

Greater Bank and Newcastle Permanent have officially completed their merger, creating a financial powerhouse with more than $20 billion in total assets and 1,600 employees – the Newcastle Greater Mutual Group.

Headquartered in the Hunter, NGM Group offers retail banking services to over half a million Australians, with branches spanning the Illawarra to the Gold Coast and inland to NSW’s Central West. 

The group has immediately made its presence felt on a national level, boasting the largest capital base for mutuals ($1.6 billion) and one of the strongest capital adequacy ratios in the industry (19%). It is also the 10th largest Australian-owned bank for household deposits. 

“Today marks a new chapter not only for two organisations with almost 200 years of collective history, but for mutual banking in Australia,” Group CEO Bernadette Inglis (pictured) said. “The future is bright for customer-owned banking and given our financial strength, we are well-placed to lead the way in taking our way of banking to more Australians. 

“Growing our already strong brands is high on our agenda, which we’ll position ourselves for through new investments to better meet the increasingly challenging market and through continuing to evolve our already competitive customer experience, both digitally and physically through our branches.”

Unlike other mergers, the group has decided to retain and operate both retail brands, Greater Bank and Newcastle Permanent.  

“This is a call we arrived at after very careful consideration, deciding that both brands’ history and performance scorecard meant they were each too strong an asset to part with,” Inglis said. “In fact, we’re the only banking institution that has two brands to be recognised every year for the past three years on the Forbes World’s Best Banks list. 

“We’re now progressing a comprehensive multi-brand strategy where we’ll consider how we can build on each brand’s individual strengths and consider where we can potentially expand into new markets.”

The NGM Group boss said that since members voted in favour of the merger resolution, the group’s leadership had focused on developing the new business’ strategic priorities: 

  • building one team with a shared culture and values
  • continuing to grow its customer base
  • investing in its local communities
  • better enabling its people through technology
  • maturing its operational, financial, and risk resilience

“They’ll guide our decisions over the near term and help us prioritise as we create our new organisation’s roadmap for the next three years,” Inglis said. 

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