Six months after its launch, Bank of Melbourne has successfully cemented a place as Victoria’s regional lender of choice, says Scott Tanner, Bank of Melbourne’s chief executive
BANK OF MELBOURNE HAS BEEN OPERATING FOR MORE THAN SIX MONTHS NOW. HOW HAVE BORROWERS AND BROKERS RESPONDED TO THE NEW LENDER?
The response has been overwhelming. We have recorded significant growth in mortgages since our rebranding, which proves the decision [to rebrand] was the right one.
I think it is fair to say that people want to deal with brokers, which is why our focus will be on ramping up this distribution channel over the coming 12 months.
We are constantly looking at ways to enhance our service proposition both to brokers and borrowers.
In the last few months, we have doubled the number of business development managers and support staff to ensure our broker partners have the best possible experience with Bank of Melbourne.
YOU HAVE BEEN QUOTED IN THE PAST AS SAYING BANK OF MELBOURNE HAS BULLISH GROWTH PLANS FOR THE YEAR AHEAD. WHAT ARE THESE GROWTH PLANS AND HOW DO YOU HOPE TO ACHIEVE THEM?
We definitely have very bullish growth plans in place. In February 2012, we opened our 50th branch and we have plans to open another 10 before the year is out.
We have certainly come a long way in the last six months and we plan to grow further over the coming few years. Our ultimate goal is to open 100 branches – which is approximately 80 more branches than we started with.
In addition, we want to continue to grow our work force and believe we can double the number of people working for Bank of Melbourne within the next 12 months.
Victoria is really under serviced by regional banks and we see opportunity in this space.
Only 13 per cent of Victorians when we started had a relationship with a regional bank; compare that with the national average of around 22 per cent and you can see that there is a clear opportunity for a bank like Bank of Melbourne to take some share.
Victorians have made it very clear, both with their words and their actions, that they want a true alternative to the majors. They want to deal with a regional lender that understands them and their needs and we believe we are in the perfect position to be that lender.
DO YOU THINK WE WILL SEE NON-MAJORS ACROSS THE BOARD REALLY STEP UP THIS YEAR AND TAKE MARKET SHARE AWAY FROM THE MAJORS?
We certainly have a plan for Bank of Melbourne to do that, so we will focus on doing it.
Funding and costs pressures on the other banks are creating a lot of uncertainty for their staff and customers. That’s what we can see in the marketplace and that creates a great opportunity for Bank of Melbourne.
We are growing, as I said, and we are making it even more convenient for our customers to do business with us. We are hungry for business so we have a great set of offers out there for customers to take advantage of. So far, so good. That all seems to be working.
PERSONALLY, WHAT ARE YOUR PROFESSIONAL GOALS FOR THE YEAR AHEAD?
I want to lead the team to even greater success. It is an exciting time for Bank of Melbourne: the staff are passionate, energetic, enthusiastic and getting behind what we are doing, but it’s all ahead of us so we have just got to keep doing what we are doing and deliver great service and grow the team and do a great job.
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