The opening of two new branches this week has seen Bank of Queensland fulfil the commitment it made at its Annual General Meeting in December last year to expand its retail network to 120 branches by the end of August, 2003.
New branches opened in the inner Brisbane suburb of New Farm and the south-east Queensland town of Beaudesert are the final instalments in the Bank’s planned network expansion this financial year (y/e Aug 31, 2003), ahead of at least 10 more over the next twelve months.
The expanded retail network has helped Australia’s Best Regional Bank deliver its celebrated face-to-face service to more customers, promote itself to potential customers and simultaneously differentiate itself and capture market share from the big banks.
To complement its expansion in face-to-face banking – 27 new branches in the past 18 months – the Bank has also invested heavily to improve its electronic banking capabilities.
In July, the Bank replaced its entire 120-machine fleet of aging ATMs with state-of-the-art Windows-based machines.
To further expand its ATM network in Queensland, and provide its first interstate ATMS, the Bank purchased Australia’s second largest third party ATM provider, ATM Solutions Australasia.
Similarly, a complete upgrade of its Internet Banking system has resulted in one of the most effective and efficient systems in Australia.
This was confirmed last month by the ACNielsen Australian Online Banking Monitor Report, which rated Bank of Queensland as the best in Australia for website customer service and speed.
The bank’s increased retail footprint mirrors its expansion in other areas of its operations, with the Bank announcing earlier this month that it would purchase billion dollar leasing company UFJ Australia to expand its leasing and equipment finance operations.
The Bank’s Managing Director, David Liddy, said the philosophy underlying the Bank’s significant growth and expansion over the past two years was basically about ensuring it could provide customers, both retail and business, with a full range of top quality banking services.
“Our customers can be confident that Bank of Queensland can provide them with every service and facility offered by the major banks, but of course with the addition of our fantastic customer service,” Mr Liddy said.
“To further improve our reach in our home State and offer a more comprehensive and convenient network for customers, we will continue to open branches.
“We are focusing on the State’s many growth areas as well as targeting established areas still without their own bank – or which the major banks have pulled out of - and which are in desperate need of a local, service-oriented bank,” Mr Liddy said.
By August 2004, the Bank will have opened at least 38 new branches throughout Queensland in just over two years, taking total branch numbers to 130.