Heritage Bank unveiled plans to open two new branches in New South Wales this year in a bid to compete with the big banks.
The bank will be setting up shop in Macquarie Park in north-west Sydney and in Tweed Heads. These plans are a continuation of the interstate expansion program of the bank, which started with the opening of new branches at Castle Hill and Parramatta in late 2019.
Peter Lock, chief executive officer of Heritage Bank, said the bank aims to resume the program this year to be able to maintain the size of its branch network.
"At times we may need to change the spread of our branches, but if we close in one area, we look to open in another. I firmly believe branches still play an extremely important role in providing customers with the personal connection they’re craving," he said.
The bank’s earlier expansion in Castle Hill and Parramatta has been a success despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic last year. The two branches have so far attracted $30m in mortgage lending and over $100m in deposits in their first year.
Lock said setting up a third Sydney branch in Macquarie Park would be able to build on this success.
"Macquarie Park is an extremely attractive suburb given its demographics and location, with the business park and university creating plenty of opportunities for us to build a presence," Lock said.
Similarly, Lock said the new branch at Tweed City Shopping Centre will form a cluster with existing Gold Coast branches on the Queensland side of the border.
"Our long-term plans remain to open more branches in Sydney, and eventually Melbourne as well. For the time being, however, we will focus on getting these two new branches up and running, and especially making our Sydney cluster hum, before we look further afield," he said.
The Macquarie Park Branch is slated to open in late September while the Tweed Heads Branch is due to open in mid-October.
Heritage Bank, Lock said, is bucking the industry trend — major banks are shutting down branches and reducing the size of their networks.
"When your main focus is on maximising profit, that’s the kind of decision you make. But with a customer-owned bank like Heritage, our focus is on serving our members. We know many people appreciate the convenience of digital banking channels, but also love the personal connection they enjoy at a branch," he said.