Australia’s largest customer-owned bank has announced plans to open branches outside of its Queensland home base for the first time in the institution’s history.
Heritage Bank currently has 59 branches across southern Queensland, $10bn in total consolidated assets and 800 staff members.
The bank is “defying both industry trends and a highly competitive market” with its plans to open two Sydney branches before the year’s end, one in the Castle Towers Shopping Centre in late October and the other at Westfield Parramatta in December.
The two locations are part of a longer-term strategy to open more branches in Sydney, as well as in the Melbourne metropolitan area.
CEO Peter Lock said, “Opening branches in Sydney reflects our desire to increase our presence nationally and our belief that the Heritage brand can resonate strongly with consumers wherever they live.”
“Heritage has been providing home loans to customers throughout Australia for 20 years via mortgage brokers, as well as through our Queensland branches. We already have thousands of customers in Sydney, and we’ve had an office in Parramatta for many years to support our broker team. We’re not totally new to Sydney and we do understand the market,” he added.
While the increasing digitisation of the financial services industry has many banks scaling back on their physical locations, Lock said the concern over branches becoming obsolete was “exaggerated.”
“People still want to come into a branch and talk face-to-face with an expert about the biggest financial commitments they will make in their lives, so branches will be around for many years to come,” he explained.
The Castle Hill and Parramatta locations were selected following extensive research that showed the western and north-western areas of Sydney were demographically suited to Heritage’s product offerings and philosophy.
“We’re about providing personalised service and great value, whether that’s a young family trying to get the best deal on their first home or a retiree looking to maximise the return on their savings,” said Lock.
“We offer something special that we hope many more people will discover through our new branches in Sydney,” he added.