We're better together

Better Access | Better Support | Better Value

Dear Members,

We are delighted to inform you that members of both Holiday Coast Credit Union (Holiday Coast) and Regional Australia Bank have voted overwhelmingly in favour of the merger of our two proud organisations. Over 90% of members in both organisations voted in favour of the merger in separate Special General Meetings held on the 29th and 30th of May respectively. This vote that will now herald one of the largest mergers in the customer owned banking sector in recent times.

Whilst both Holiday Coast and Regional Australia Bank have been performing well in their respective adjoining markets, this merger will deliver tangible and immediate financial and non-financial benefits to our 85,000+ members, creating a strong and sustainable mutual financial institution in regional Australia.

The merger of these two excellent customer owned banking institutions will take legal effect on July 1, 2019 with systems migration to follow in the months soon thereafter.

We want to take this opportunity to thank members for their support.

Sincerely,

Graham OlrichChairman Regional Australia Bank

Kevin DupéCEO Regional Australia Bank

Your questions answered

Why merge?

Both Regional Australia Bank and Holiday Coast Credit Union are in strong financial positions and for many, the question is why merge?

Interestingly, the Australian financial services industry has become increasingly consolidated over the past decade. This has been driven by intense market competition, continuing downward pressure on interest margins and an increase in funding and capital costs.

All Authorised Deposit-Taking Institutions (ADIs) and licensed providers of financial advice, from the ‘Big Four’ to smaller institutions like ours, are subject to the same demanding regulatory and compliance obligations. This necessitates significant and ongoing investments in new technologies, specialist employees and the maintenance of ‘best practice’ risk management frameworks and corporate governance structures.

Smaller institutions are particularly exposed to these market and regulatory challenges and its associated cost pressures. This is why we have seen escalating voluntary merger activity throughout the mutual sector. The benefits of enhanced scale and operational efficiency have been one of the driving forces behind such mergers.

People will also be aware that the financial industry is constantly changing especially in the digital area. Who would have thought 10 years ago that you could do all your banking on a phone, so what the next 10 years will bring will be quite amazing. Keeping up with these changes does not come cheap and combining our resources through a merger provides the continued ability to capitalise on these changes in the industry.

Together, our organisations are much stronger than if we remain apart, being far better placed to navigate the current regulatory and competitive environment. This strength is a key element in being able to provide more benefits to our members and to realise our strategic objectives.

Why now?

It was determined by both Regional Australia Bank and Holiday Coast Credit Union Boards that while both organisations are performing well in their respective adjoining markets, a merger would deliver tangible and immediate financial and non-financial benefits to members of both organisations. Additionally, it will also help preserve a strong and sustainable mutual financial institution in regional Australia.

The alignment of both organisation’s strategic focus and absolute commitment to enhance our members’ financial and social well-being, while at the same time build better regional communities through the mutual model was also a driving factor in the recommendation to merge. We can say enthusiastically that a common set of values and vision exist between both organisations.

What are the future opportunities for the combined organisation?

Together, the combined entity will have significantly more resources,both human and financial, to deploy and to deliver member value than either party can achieve on their own. The benefits can be summarised as follows:

  • A stronger financial position which will allow the delivery of more value.
  • A broader range of competitive products and services.
  • The capacity to offer even more attractive interest rates and fee relief over time.
  • Contemporary IT architecture to assist in delivering effortless digital solutions to members.
  • Continuing to build upon a successful Community Partnership Program with the combined entity providing over $1,500,000pa in support to our local clubs, charities and community groups.
  • A strong governance focus with the combined Board
  • Assets in excess of $2billion and income of over $65 million pa, providing greater scale on the path to long term sustainability.

Will you still be member owned?

Yes – the combined organisation will continue to be owned by its members, just as it is today. Holiday Coast, like Regional Australia Bank, is a customer owned bank which is different to that of an ‘investor’ based bank such as a Big Four bank. A customer owned bank operates in the interest of its customers (a people focused bank) whereas the investor based banks tend to operate more in the interest of the shareholders (a profit focused bank). Our combined organisation will continue to put people before profits.

When is the merger taking place?

The transfer of business of Holiday Coast Credit Union Ltd to Regional Australia Bank Ltd will occur on July 1, 2019. At this point, Holiday Coast Credit Union will become a trading name of Regional Australia Bank. However, it is going to take some time to bring the banking systems of both organisations together and we anticipate that customers of both institutions will be utilising the same banking platforms by October 2019. This includes things like; internet banking, mobile apps, branch services, savings accounts and lending products.

Will customers of Regional Australia Bank be affected?

As a customer of Regional Australia Bank you do not need to do anything and we envisage the impact on your day-to-day banking services to be minimal. Their maybe occasions where we will schedule an outage during the night in order to bring the two banking systems together. We will make every effort to ensure that you are notified and that any scheduled disruption to services is scheduled outside of peak usage periods.

Will I be able to do my banking at a Holiday Coast Credit Union Branch?

Only when the systems converge will you be able to utilise the Holiday Coast branch network to do you banking

Does this mean you will be changing your name again?

No. It is proposed that the two organisations maintain their existing brand names. However, we have embarked on a program of research with Holidy Coast Credit Union members to gain their view on a potential name change to Regional Australia Bank. A formal report containing the research findings and a cost benefit analysis will be compiled and submitted to Board for consideration at a later date. Once that decision has been made we will advise members accordingly.

Benefits of the merger

Better value for our members

Competitive rates and fairer fees

Furthering our capacity to offer even more attractive interest rates and fee relief over time.

We’re committed to face-to-face banking

Both organisations are people focused and share a commitment to maintaining and evolving our face-to-face services.

Broader product range

Our shared range of products and services, including a commercial banking product suite, will ensure that no member will be worse off should the need arise to migrate products.

Better access to services

High tech and high touch

Combining our key digital services to improve your contemporary mobile and internet banking experience, including introducing Apple and Android Pay payments from your mobile device as well as maintaining  Osko and PAY ID for real-time transfers between institutions.

More faces, more places

More friendly and helpful staff in 11 branches along the coast from Coffs Harbour in the north to Maitland in the south.

Better support for each other

Supporting our community - it's where we belong!

A community focus is one of our shared strengths. In addition to continuing traditional event sponsorships, the combined entity will pledge over $1,500,000 each year to our respective regional communities in the form of philanthropic donations to local sporting clubs, communities groups and charities.

Stronger capital, stronger future

Together we’re better equipped to support the growing demand for our lending into the future as people turn away from the ‘Big Four’ banks to our customer owned alternative.