Bank of Queensland splashes $1bn to challenge Big Four with ME Bank purchase
Bank of Queensland (BoQ) has set aside $1 billion to purchase digital lender ME Bank, in an attempt to gain traction on the country’s “Big Four” banks.
The deal sees BoQ double the size of its retail operations, increasing its total deposits to around AUD 56 billion ($44.1 bn).
Retail income will account for half of Queensland’s earnings.
Despite the outlay BoQ still has some work to do to catch up to Australia’s largest lenders. The smallest of the Big Four, ANZ, reports more than AUD 320 billion in deposits.
ME Bank, founded in 1994, is owned by a collection of 26 pension funds. It holds a loan book of around AUD 25 billion and AUD 17.2 billion in deposits.
The bank’s chairman, James Evans, calls the deal a “permanent shift for the better” in the Australian banking sector.
BoQ chairman Patrick Allaway agrees. He calls the acquisition a “major step” in the bank’s strategy to be “the leading alternative to the big banks”.
He adds: “With the addition of the ME Bank business, BoQ now has material scale and a compelling growth platform to support this ambition.”
BoQ is an existing customer of Nucleus Software. It uses the vendor’s FinnOne Neo lending platform, having picked the system in December 2013.
One of its subsidiary divisions, Virgin Money Australia, recently selected Temenos Transact as its new core banking system.