Newtown’s first boutique bank has opened its doors and is already creating waves as local residents, increasingly disgruntled with poor service from the big four, realise there is a locally-owned, service-focused alternative.
Owner-Managers of the new Bank of Queensland branch, Mark Ely and Yogini Patel, said that as big banks continued to direct their customers to automated call centres and on-line banking facilities, the face-to-face service people want was becoming more elusive.
“People across Australia are becoming increasingly unhappy with the service they are getting from their bank, and this is the message we are getting from the people switching to BOQ,” Mr Ely said.
“Newtown is a strong and growing area, yet the big banks continue to reduce their face-to-face contact with customers by forcing them to do-it-yourself channels like Internet or Phone Banking or join lengthening queues.
“We want to shake things up and let people know that there is an alternative.
“The reason we have been so busy in just our first three weeks of opening is because people can walk into our branch on King Street, go straight up to the counter and talk directly to me or Yogini – their bank managers.
“Already we have more than $10 million in loans in the pipeline,” he said.
“This is largely because we can approve loans right here in the branch – we don’t have to refer decisions to a head office in George Street or another city.
“However, we are still backed 100 per cent by the security of a financial institution which has been around for 131 years and is the fastest-growing bank in Australia.”
Mrs Patel said that by drawing on their 26 years’ combined banking experience and their extensive knowledge of Central Sydney, they could make a great difference to the way Newtown and its surrounding suburbs were served.
“As well as being experienced bankers, we both have been living and working in Central Sydney for more than 16 years and are looking forward to building a long and rewarding association with the local community,” Mrs Patel said.
“We want people to come into our bank and talk to us – it is really the only way we can make sure all their banking needs are met and we are doing all we can to help them.
“And we won't make our customers use an automated call centre or internet banking, even though we do offer those facilities. My team and I will be providing friendly, personalised service, backed by all of the other access points our customers may want including the second-largest ATM network in Australia.”
There are now 47 Bank of Queensland Owner-Managed Branches outside Queensland, and over 2000 BOQ ATMs across the country.