Global interest in Heritage and People’s Choice impact in Australia

Global mutual sector representatives hear how Heritage and People’s Choice will reshape the banking landscape.

21 July 2023

Mutual sector representatives from across the globe will this week hear how Australia’s leading mutual - Heritage and People’s Choice - plans to reshape the country’s banking landscape.

Over the next four days some 1,600 delegates are expected to attend the 2023 World Credit Union Conference in Vancouver, Canada (23-26 July) with Heritage and People’s Choice CEO Peter Lock invited to speak about the highly successful merger which has created Australia’s largest customer-owned bank.

Mr Lock will outline how Heritage Bank and People’s Choice Credit Union came together in March this year to create a new national mutual with approximately 720,000 members, 1,900 employees and more than $23 billion in assets, as well as his vision to elevate the mutual banking model in Australia.

“The success of our merger is absolutely worthy of global attention, so I’m very proud to be in Vancouver to talk about it and our future,” Mr Lock said.

“I believe that our merger is about much more than just building a bigger bank. We have a truly exciting opportunity to reimagine mutuality for all Australians – to show more and more people there’s an alternative way, a better way of doing banking that focuses on purpose, not generating massive profits for shareholders.

“It’s not going to happen overnight, but by creating an iconic new Australian mutual with a national presence we can change the landscape. We can achieve this not by talking, but by doing – doing good for our members, our employees, and our communities.

“The proof will be in our products, our programs and crucially, in our behaviours,” he said.

Mutuals, like Heritage and People’s Choice, play a very important role in the global banking environment, with more than 86,000 operating in 118 countries.

“Because Australia’s banking sector has been dominated for so long by the Big Four, too many Australians think that the profit-seeking model is the only option. It’s not,” Mr Lock said.

“Of course, no-one has all the answers so I’m also here to listen and learn, to find out what other likeminded mutuals are doing around the world, and see if there’s knowledge and experiences we can tap into to help us on our journey. It’s a very exciting time.”

Interestingly, it was exactly seven years ago at the 2016 World Credit Union Conference in Belfast, Northern Ireland, when Mr Lock, then CEO of Heritage Bank, first met his eventual merger partner, Steve Laidlaw, then CEO of People’s Choice.

“We got along well. We found out our beliefs were very similar and so were our organisations, so that when the possibility of a merger was first raised some years later we had a solid foundation of trust to work from,” Mr Lock said.


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