AGM told initial performance creates strong foundation for Heritage and People’s Choice

Article introduction

Michael Cameron and Peter Lock

17 November 2023

Heritage and People’s Choice’s immediate post-merger performance has built an outstanding foundation for its goal to become Australia’s leading purpose-driven alternative to the major banks, members were told at this year’s Annual General Meeting.  

Not only has the new organisation succeeded financially, it has also delivered on many of its merger commitments and set the framework for an approach to banking that is much more focussed on doing good for members and communities. 

Speaking at Heritage and People’s Choice’s inaugural Annual General Meeting, Chairman Michael Cameron said the organisation has reaped the benefits of much hard work following the merger of Heritage Bank and People’s Choice on 1 March. 

“In our first 120 days, we achieved net member growth of more than 11,000, loan growth of 8.6% per annuum and deposit growth of 7.5% per annum,” he said. 

“We have progressed our merger commitments, including the removal of some fees and charges, and the introduction of Saturday trading in selected branches. We were also accredited as an Employer of Choice.” 

Mr Cameron said while progress had been significant, there was still some way to go to become a fully integrated organisation to maximise the merger benefits for members. 

“To guide us, we have developed an Integration Plan to bring together our people, processes and systems over the next few years. Central to this is the optimisation of our business operations to create a simple, effective member experience.  
“Another crucial project is the upgrade of our IT infrastructure. Technology is the backbone of any modern bank and we are determined to create a simpler, modern IT platform which will provide high levels of reliability and security.” 

A new mobile banking app and internet banking system is expected to be launched next year, along with the rollout of a new brand. 

During his address, CEO Peter Lock stressed that although Heritage and People’s Choice was a much larger organisation – with more than 730,000 members, 2,000 employees and over $23 billion in assets – it was still very much member-owned and member-focused.  

“While Heritage and People’s Choice finished the reporting period in a very positive financial position, we have also taken great strides in building a stronger organisation – one which will provide Australians with a true alternative to the big banks and their profit-driven model.” 

“During the reporting period, we worked hard to deliver more for our members, to strengthen our systems, and ensure members are at the heart of all decisions.” 
This included: 

  • Establishing a dedicated Member Advocacy team.
  • Launching a Scams Hotline for concerned members.
  • Improving protection of members experiencing vulnerability, including creating centralised care hubs.
  • Offering Green Car Loans to buy a hybrid or electric vehicle.

“We have always existed for our members and we always will.” Mr Lock said.  

Across the 2023/23 financial year, Heritage and People’s Choice reported:

  • Net profit after tax of $32.1 million.1
  • Total loans and advances of $19.1 billion, up 5% from a combined $18.2 billion.2
  • Growth in the residential lending portfolio to $18.3 billion, an increase of 5.2%.2
  • Retail deposits of $17.8 billion, a 3.5% lift. 2

Total assets of $23.3 billion, a 2.6% increase on the combined balances of Heritage Bank and People’s Choice at 30 June 2022.2

PHOTO: Heritage and People’s Choice Chairman Michael Cameron and CEO Peter Lock.

1 Profit after tax for the first eight months of the 2023 financial year is attributable to the operations of People’s Choice Credit Union on a standalone basis. As a result of the merger on 1 March 2023 the profit after tax for the final four months of the 2023 financial year includes profit earned in relation to the operations of Heritage and People’s Choice. The profit of Heritage Bank Limited earned over the first eight months of the 2023 financial year is reflected in the contributed equity balance at the effective merger date. For further information please refer to note 34 within the financial accounts.
2 The growth reported compares Heritage and People’s Choice as at 30 June 2023 with the combined positions of Heritage Bank Limited and People’s Choice Credit Union as at 30 June 2022.


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