Rebirth for Customer-Owned Bank
29 July 2015 at 10:50 am
Customer-owned bank, bankmecu will change its name in August to Bank Australia, in a move the original credit union describes as a “purpose led” transformation.
Managing Director Damien Walsh said the transformation was part of the bank’s strategy of being Australia’s customer-owned, responsible bank, and about wanting to have a predominant market share in socially aware consumers.
“When we spoke to our customers and potential customers about our strategy and our target market, we reflected on the fact that the name, bankmecu, wasn’t a particularly good name,” Walsh said.
“It reflected our history, our past, when we came out as a credit union. And people had difficulty with the word ‘mecu’ or ‘m-e-c-u’. And actually sometimes we were even confused with another Australian bank.
“We really thought about how we have a name that reflects the ambition of the business. And it’s an ambitious name too. So I think that that’s a good thing to be ambitious around building a customer-owned responsible bank, so that’s actually what led us to doing research around the change of name.”
However Walsh said the name change was not intended to distance the bank from its credit union origins.
“One of the things that’s really important to us is that we’re proud of our history, and that we really value the cooperative principles that we’ve inherited,” he said.
“We actually went to a number of our former directors who have retired who are part of a number of credit union who made up the organisation through different mergers over the years and they were part of the stakeholder engagement process so we had some good feedback and I would have to say the majority of them were very supportive of a name change.
“I really hope it helps to differentiate us in the marketplace. We want to really own our target market around socially aware consumers. So if I can use an analogy, it’s similar to the way people would align or think about community banking with Bendigo Bank.”
Walsh said the bank would continue to remain 100 per cent customer owned and continue to honour its commitments to retain profits in Australia and not off-shore jobs.
He admitted that the name change to Bank Australia was an ambitious one.
“Bank Australia is a strong and unambiguous name that respects the proud heritage of the 60 plus financial cooperatives that make up the bank today as well as the hundreds of thousands of people who have been customers and owners of the bank since its inception 58 years ago,” he said.