BOQ Board meets in Toowoomba to discuss growth in region

Bank of Queensland's Board of Directors focused on plans for the Bank's future growth in the Toowoomba region at its recent meeting, its first regional meeting of 2003, in the Darling Downs city.


BOQ Managing Director David Liddy said the Board was updated on the plan to open a new Business Banking Centre in Toowoomba before September, as well as new branches at Dalby and Warwick.


Mr Liddy addressed an Australian Shareholders' Association meeting in Toowoomba, on the eve of the board meeting, on the strong growth of Bank of Queensland throughout the Darling Downs and Queensland.


Mr Liddy also held a special staff presentation involving Bank of Queensland staff from as far afield as Kingaroy and Murgon.


Last month, Bank of Queensland set the tone for the regional banks' outperformance of the Big Four, posting a record $21.3 million profit for the half-year ended February 28 - a 60 per cent rise on the previous interim result.


This result was in large part attributed to the Bank's aggressive expansion program, which saw it open 17 branches across the State, including at Wilsonton in Toowoomba's west.


The branch at Wilsonton and the new Bank of Queensland Loans Centre at Highfields, opened in October, represent a significant expansion of the Bank's activities on the Darling Downs and a major investment in the local communities.


Mr Liddy said the Toowoomba area's strong residential and particularly business growth meant the time was right for further expansion on the Range.


"The Business Banking Centres we have opened in other regional centres have been tremendously well received by local businesspeople, I think indicating the growing level of dissatisfaction and lack of face-to-face contact with the big banks," Mr Liddy said.


"We believe Toowoomba, with its strong growth and increasing number of small businesses, would similarly benefit.


"But the benefits go well beyond the provision of banking and financial services to business - these Centres also create local jobs, rejuvenate communities and bolster economic progress.


"BOQ has recognised the need for better banking services throughout the region and is committed to restoring accessible face-to-face banking for residents and business owners.


"This reflects Toowoomba's significant and growing status as a major economic hub and is aimed at assisting the region's economic importance continue to develop," Mr Liddy said.


Bank of Queensland now has four points of face-to-face contact and employs 20 people in the Toowoomba area.