The opening of Bank of Queenslands first Sydney branch North Parramatta has launched a new chapter in the fast-growing regional banks 130-year history and created a significant milestone for the local community.
The Branch was officially opened by the Lord Mayor of Parramatta, Councillor Julia Finn.
In opening the branch, Cr Finn said North Parramatta residents had been crying out for better banking services for the last few years.
I applaud the Bank of Queensland for their decision to come to North Parramatta, Cr Finn said.
I know a lot of the older residents around here will particularly appreciate the new branch.
North Parramatta is among the first of 100 communities throughout New South Wales and Victoria to receive a Bank of Queensland branch over the next two years, as the Bank aims to reverse a decade of branch closures by the big banks and provide greater access to face-to-face banking services.
During the past decade, the major banks closed almost 2,000 branches around the country including several in North Parramatta representing more than 35% of their retail networks.
Bank of Queensland North Parramatta the only bank north of the river will be owner-managed by Graham OKell, who said he was proud to be able to restore banking services to the area.
In just our first few days of trade, we have many new customers who have left the Big Banks in search of a better service alternative, Mr OKell said.
The major banks have stopped being full-service relationship banks, something customers are constantly searching for and which they will find here at Bank of Queensland, Mr OKell said.
My focus is on achieving results through delivering a superior customer experience and on remaining approachable to customers and clients.
My commitment to providing excellent, personal service will also benefit the areas many small and medium businesses as well, he said.
The Banks Managing Director, David Liddy, said community support for the North Parramatta branch mirrored the dramatic response seen in the 47 other communities which had received an Owner-Managed Branch in the past three years.
Owner-Managed Branches are a unique concept where experienced bankers partner the Bank to provide communities with an unparalleled person2person banking experience.
The person who manages the branch also owns it. Like any small business, they depend on keeping their customers happy and will go out of their way to ensure this happens, Mr Liddy said.
Here in North Parramatta, Owner-Manager Graham OKell is already seeing a groundswell of local support in his first week of business as people begin to realise there really is a difference between Bank of Queensland and the other banks.
Mr Liddy said Mr OKell, with his impeccable banking credentials, mirrored the quality of bankers approaching Bank of Queensland to be involved in its interstate expansion.
There are now three Bank of Queensland branches open for business in New South Wales, at Byron Bay, Kingscliff and North Parramatta. In Victoria, the Frankston branch has begun trading and its first Melbourne CBD branch, in Bourke Street, will open next week.
We have been overwhelmed by both the quantity and the quality of bankers wanting to be a part of our interstate expansion and have been able to choose the best of the best to become partners in our unique Owner-Managed Branch model, Mr Liddy said.
The Bank is continuing negotiations with many more potential owner-managers and will announce further sites throughout New South Wales and Victoria as they are confirmed.
Mr Liddy said the keen interest from bankers and business people indicated their confidence in the OMB models potential in these states.