The benefits proposed by a merger would be a greater footprint stretching across most states, greater scale with 700,000 members and improved products.
The merged entity would retain a head office in Adelaide and Toowoomba and has said there would be no branch closures or non-executive redundancies. The mutual status would also be retained and have more than 90 branches with about 1700 staff.
Heritage is the slightly larger of the two organisations in terms of assets which are worth $11.9 billion compared with $9.9 billion at People’s Choice.
Members would have the final say in any proposal.
In a joint statement the two organisations said a merger had “strong strategic rationale”.
“By joining forces the merged entity would be of a size and scale that would enable both organisations to deliver more for their members through enhanced products, services, digital capabilities and competitive pricing,” they said.
Heritage chairman Kerry Betros said that while both were successful the nation-wide presence, profile and scale would redefine mutual banking.
A due diligence process has already started.
If both organisations agree to proceed it will be put to a vote of members.
People’s Choice chief executive Steve Laidlaw said both organisations were value-driven and were committed to maintaining their mutual status, employees and members.
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