BOQ and HBF initiate alliance


Bank of Queensland today announced it has signed a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) with Western Australia’s largest private health insurer, HBF, to provide financial products for its 900,000 members.


Bank of Queensland Managing Director David Liddy said if the initiative proceeded it would provide an excellent opportunity for BOQ to leverage its core banking system and its IT outsourcing agreement with EDS.


“The proposed arrangement would also further diversify BOQ’s income stream,” Mr Liddy said.


“HBF is an organisation with the same customer-focused approach to business as Bank of Queensland. Culturally the two organisations are well-matched.


“This arrangement gives BOQ a great opportunity to utilise the loan processing capacity we have within our new IT platform, along with our outsourcing agreement with EDS, to provide a raft of new financial products for HBF members.


“BOQ is particularly proud to be chosen by HBF to provide these products over much larger competitors,” Mr Liddy said.


The MOU is the first stage in BOQ and HBF moving towards a formal alliance where financial products manufactured by BOQ could be provided by HBF to its members.


HBF is Western Australia’s largest health insurer with about 900,000 members and approximately 70 per cent of the Western Australian health insurance market. It also has successful general insurance and financial planning businesses.


HBF has 19 branches and a dedicated call centre and has a long-term vision to provide advice-focused financial products to its membership base.


HBF Managing Director Mike Gurry said BOQ’s products were a natural extension of its current range of services, as they offered protection and wellbeing to WA families.


“As a not-for-profit mutual organisation, HBF is committed to focussing on generating growth in areas other than health insurance to reduce the pressure on health insurance premiums."


Mr Gurry said that over the past few years HBF had been investigating how best to deliver financial products to members as part of its diversification plans and decided that partnering with a well established financial institution was the best way forward.


“We believe the Bank of Queensland is an ideal fit with our cultural values as it has a similar focus on customer service and values, especially about doing the right thing by customers,” he said.


“We see this new relationship as the ideal opportunity to deliver high quality financial solutions tailored to members’ needs, such as home loans, savings accounts and personal loans.”


Mr Liddy said the HBF announcement would not impact on the Bank’s roll-out of its own franchised branch network in Western Australia, the first of which will open at the end of this month.


“The two are completely different, and separate. Our Owner-Managed Branches are based on personal service and full-service banking. Our alliance with HBF would provide specific products for their members under the HBF banner,” Mr Liddy said.


“We see the two as complimentary to our overall strategy of growing and diversifying, both geographically, and with our income streams.”