Bank of Queensland is taking the fight to the Big Banks, opening its first branch in the Sydney CBD at Castlereagh Street in the heart of the city's financial district.
The same week saw the Bank open its very first branch in the centre of the nations capital at City Walk, Canberra City.
The milestone branches are amongst 100 the dynamic regional bank will open throughout New South Wales, Victoria, the ACT and the Northern Territory by August 2006. 14 are already open for business.
Under Bank of Queensland's unique franchise-style Owner-Managed Branch concept, the 136 Castlereagh Street branch is owned and managed by a partnership of Sydney solicitors and bankers: Bronwyn Smith, Geoff Versace and Stephen Bridgman.
It was officially opened by NSW Opposition Leader John Brogden, who congratulated the bank on its expansion, saying he looked forward to the benefits that would flow to consumers in the delivery of financial services.
Managing Director David Liddy said opening of Bank of Queensland's first branch in Sydneys CBD was a key step in its interstate expansion, the site deliberately chosen to confront the big banks.
For many years we have been challenging the market by opening branches and providing high quality face-to-face service, drawing customers from other banks searching for a better banking alternative. It is for this reason we are Australia's fastest growing regional bank, Mr Liddy said.
Now we are really taking on the big banks head on, with the national headquarters of two of the major banks as well as around 40 big bank branches within a few hundred metres.
One of the Owner-Managers and CBD solicitor Geoff Versace said the key to the new branch was the intimacy the branch could offer its customers, whether retail or business.
The major banks have stopped being relationship banks, something customers are constantly searching for and which they will find here at Bank of Queensland," Mr Versace said.
Branch Manager Stephen Bridgman, who has 25 years experience in banking, will be based in the branch and is available to personally assist our customers.
As solicitors and small business owners, we understand the necessity of being available for clients and providing the best possible service and follow-up, and this is the Renaissance in banking that we are bringing back to Sydney.
In particular, we know many members of the legal and business fraternity in the CBD will enjoy the prospect of having what is in essence a private bank manager to personally look after them.
Our focus is on achieving results through delivering a superior customer experience and on remaining approachable to customers and clients to build sound relationships with them.