Geraldton now has its first bank owned and operated by locals, with the Bank of Queensland Branch in Marine Terrace being purchased by local banker Jenny Addison.
Jenny, who has nearly 25 years of banking experience, was corporate manager of the Home Building Society branch when Home merged with Bank of Queensland in 2007.
Jenny said she liked the business, the customers and the opportunities so much she leapt at the chance to buy the franchise from Bank of Queensland.
“We had such a great team at Home and really felt like we offered the kind of face-to-face, old-fashioned banking services that people in the community were after.
“When we merged with Bank of Queensland, we were able to add an extensive and extremely competitive product suite to the mix, and I think it gave us a winning combination.
“So when the opportunity to purchase the branch came up, I jumped at the chance! I think that BOQ Geraldton can offer our local community exactly what it needs – a local Bank Manager who really cares about their needs and can structure their finances in a way that suits them.
“And because I own the branch, I can use my knowledge about local conditions to drive my decisions, and will be available 24/7 for my customers. They’ll have my direct line and can call me at whatever time suits them, to discuss their banking.
“But of course I am completely backed by Bank of Queensland, a 135-year-old bank that is also Australia’s fastest-growing retail bank with a network of more than 285 branches, and one of the country’s top 100 listed companies.
“So having your money with me is just as safe as having it with any other BOQ branch, but you have the added benefit of having a manager who knows that my livelihood depends on how happy my customers are, so you can imagine I’ll bend over backwards to make sure you get the very best service!”
The conversion not only provides the Geraldton community with a significant asset, but underlines the ongoing synergies and successful integration of the BOQ and Home Building Society networks.
Geraldton is the 23rd corporate branch BOQ has converted to an Owner-Managed Branch (OMB) with plans to continue franchising branches where there is a demonstrated benefit to customers and a top quality Owner-Manager ready to step up to the crease.
In fact, another two BOQ branches in Innaloo and Belmont (formerly Home branches) have been purchased by WA bankers and are being converted to Owner-Managed Branches today!
Of the Bank’s 286-branch retail network, 203 are OMBs.
“This is a truly revolutionary way of banking – there is no other full-service bank in town where you can walk in and be served by the owner,” Jenny said.
“It really takes banking back to the grass roots, allowing us to offer a level of service the others just can’t match. Local people will appreciate the personal, face-to-face service and the hands-on, intimate approach to looking after their banking and finance needs.”
“My husband and I have lived in Geraldton for 14 years and have two kids who go to school here. We just love the place and I am thrilled that I have been able to take advantage of this great business and career opportunity without leaving town.
“Of course I won’t be changing the team at the branch, so our customers will see the same friendly faces when they come and visit us in the branch,” Jenny said.
BOQ’s Managing Director David Liddy said the Owner-Managed Branch model really allowed quality bankers to shine by managing their own business rather than be stifled by a “cookie-cutter” corporate branch arrangement.
“The dramatic and immediate improvements in branch performance and customer satisfaction after they are franchised proves bank managers who have a direct financial interest in their branch, who are experts in their local market and who personally know their customers are much more effective than the old-fashioned corporate manager who often has none of these things,” David said.
Owner-Managed Branches are a franchise arrangement which enables experienced bankers to own and manage their own full-service Bank of Queensland branch in their local community, supported by the security and products of a 135-year-old financial institution.