1 November 2021
Queensland-based Heritage Bank is again swimming against the industry tide of branch closures by opening a new branch at the Macquarie Centre in northern Sydney.
Heritage will open its Macquarie Park branch at the iconic shopping centre today (Monday, 1 November), continuing a physical push into Sydney that began with new branches at Castle Hill and Parramatta in 2019.
Heritage will further its New South Wales expansion with another new branch opening at the Tweed City Shopping Centre in the state’s far north on 13 December.
COVID temporarily delayed Heritage’s interstate expansion push in 2020, but the plans are now back on track.
CEO Peter Lock said Heritage’s long term goal remained to open new branches in both New South Wales and Victoria.
Mr Lock said research showed around 300 bank branches had disappeared across Australia since the start of last year, as big banks rapidly reduce the size of their networks.
“At Heritage, we take a different view,” he said. “We are committed to maintaining a strong branch network and believe branches will still be strategically important for some time to come.
“When you’re a major bank whose main focus is on maximising profit, closing branches is an easy way to cut costs in the short term. I believe that’s a short-sighted decision and definitely not in the interests of creating a personal connection with customers.
“People still want to be able to go into a branch and talk face-to-face about the biggest financial decisions of their lives, such as buying a home.
“They’re comfortable doing everyday transactions online but it’s a different story when they’re about to commit to a loan that could easily be worth $1 million or more.”
Mr Lock said Heritage’s Castle Hill and Parramatta branches had together attracted almost 1000 new members, $30 million in mortgage lending and more than $100 million in deposits in their first year, even though COVID struck soon after opening.
The third Sydney branch will build on that success and has been designed around modern banking behaviour.
“There’s no row of tellers sitting behind glass walls,” said Lock. “The branch is open plan and designed for our people to have conversations with members.”
Mr Lock said having the new Macquarie Park branch within 20 kilometres of the Castle Hill and Parramatta branches would be beneficial.
“This will create a cluster of branches in Sydney that can support each other operationally and generate greater awareness,” he said.
“We see that western and north-western part of Sydney as a sweet spot for Heritage.
“Macquarie Park is an extremely attractive suburb given its demographics and location, with the business park and university creating plenty of opportunities for us to build a presence alongside our other branches.”