The huge growth of WA’s economy, fuelled partly by the mining boom, has drawn a second Bank of Queensland Owner-Managed Branch (OMB) to the region.
BOQ, currently Australia’s fastest growing retail bank, has opened its second WA branch in Applecross, and has further bolstered its WA presence with the appointment of experienced WA business banker Greg O’Brien.
BOQ made its first foray into WA with the opening of an Owner-Managed Branch in Subiaco in April this year, which has proven to be one of the Bank’s most successful OMBs to date.
The Owner-Managers of the new branch at Applecross, Dean and Rochelle Stonehouse, said they were looking forward to becoming a part of the local community, and being able to offer personalised service to local residents and businesses.
“We love the local area and are looking forward to getting to know the small business owners around our branch,” said Mr Stonehouse.
“As we are now business owners ourselves, I think we’ll be able to better understand the challenges and opportunities they face.”
Mrs Stonehouse agreed, “We are looking forward to offering our customers a different banking experience. Instead of dealing with a nameless, faceless operator on the end of the phone, we’re inviting our customers to come into the branch and give us the opportunity to get to know their business and offer them solutions to meet their needs!
“We’re also looking forward to getting together regularly with Greg O’Brien and Tania Watton (Owner-Manager of Subiaco branch) to discuss new and different ways we can work together to offer our customers comprehensive product and service solutions.”
Mr O’Brien, who has over 27 years’ experience in corporate and business banking in WA, said that the buoyant conditions led by the current mining boom in WA have flowed through to a wide cross section of industries.
“Demand for finance is strong and already we are receiving a high level of interest from the business community wanting to deal with a ‘different’ bank. Of particular note is an unprecedented level of enquiry for Debtor Finance.
“All the mining companies, as well as the mine suppliers such as recruitment, engineering, food wholesalers, motor vehicle companies, steel fabricators, building companies, just to mention a few, are going through the roof, and some are finding it difficult to fund this growth.
“This provides a huge opportunity for BOQ to help both with financing equipment and with cash flow management, as these are two of the major requirements of participants in such a boom industry.
“And obviously at the same time there is a huge need for business banking expertise, on both a SME and a larger commercial scale.”
Bank of Queensland, which was founded 132 years ago, began an aggressive expansion program in 2001 and last month reached its target, first announced at the Bank’s 2005 full-year results, of 75 new branches outside its home state by August 2006. The Bank has a total of 215 branches across Australia.
BOQ’s push into WA is supported by a network of more than 150 ATMs in WA alone, and plans are underway to grow the business banking team over the next couple of months.
Managing Director David Liddy said the Subiaco branch was already proving that BOQ’s Owner-Managed Branch Model was a welcome addition to the WA banking scene.
“Our Subiaco Owner-Manager, Tania Watton, and her team, have already had huge success in the three short months they’ve been open.
“They’re one of the most successful OMBs we’ve opened to date, which is a clear indication that BOQ’s unique service offering is welcome in WA!
“Our OMB Model allows first class local bankers like Tania, Dean and Rochelle to not only manage, but to own their very own branch, and offer genuine service to the community,” said Mr Liddy.
“Bank of Queensland is bringing the best of both worlds to Western Australia – all the security and strength of one of Australia’s oldest and most successful banks combined with the service and local knowledge of a small business.
“Owner-Managed Branches, which deal with everything from small cheque and savings accounts through to home loans and commercial transactions, have already had great success across Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Canberra, and Darwin.
“While many banks are closing branches, reducing their contact with customers and re-directing them to automated call centres, we will be making a difference.
“That difference will be to provide genuine one-on-one personal contact.”
The Applecross branch will be located at 18- 22 Riseley Street.