Heritage aims to become Australia’s largest member-owned bank

Heritage Building Society Limited has announced plans to take the next logical step forward in the organisation’s evolution by changing its name to Heritage Bank Limited.

Heritage will put that recommendation to a vote of members and must also gain approval from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA).

If successful, it would make Heritage Australia’s largest member-owned bank.

Chairman Mr Brian Carter said the new name would better reflect the role that Heritage plays in the lives of its members and would be more relevant in the modern world.

While the name would change, Mr Carter said Heritage would remain member-owned and member-focussed. Heritage has absolutely no plans to de-mutualise and list shares on the ASX.

“This change is all about ensuring Heritage moves with the times and remains relevant in the modern world,” Mr Carter said.

“We are now able to provide the same range of financial products and services as a bank. Our members think of us as their bank, and that’s how many other people see us as well.

“We’ve outgrown the term building society, so this is a logical step forward in our evolution as a financial institution for today’s world.

“We believe it’s all about positioning Heritage for continued success and prosperity into the future.

“Heritage will have a new name but our values and focus will stay the same. We will still be owned by our members. Our management and staff priorities will not change and we will still be driven by our People first philosophy to deliver the best value possible for our members.”

“Heritage has assessed this opportunity for a number of years but the recent Federal Government reforms in relation to sustainable competition in the banking sector have focussed our attention on this crucial evolution.”

Heritage will put the proposed name change to a vote of members at the annual general meeting in Toowoomba on 19 October 2011. The resolution will need to be passed by at least 75% of the votes cast by members entitled to vote on the resolution. Heritage also needs approval from APRA to use the title “bank”. An application has been submitted.

The aim is to begin operating as Heritage Bank from late 2011.

CEO Mr John Minz said this change would usher in new opportunities for Heritage to compete in a changing financial marketplace.

“Heritage is among the strongest, best managed and most successful financial institutions in the country, he said.

“While we are extremely proud of our history, the reality is that many people do not understand that a building society is able to provide the same products and services as a bank, and meets strict prudential and regulatory requirements.

“The new name will better describe what we do and increase the understanding that we are an extremely viable alternative to the big banks.”

Heritage is Australia’s largest building society, with total assets of more than $8 billion. Heritage’s origins stretch back to 1875, when the Toowoomba Permanent Building Society was formed. That was soon followed by the formation of the Darling Downs Building Society. Those two organisations merged in 1981 to create Heritage Building Society.

Heritage currently has 58 branches across south-east Queensland, as well as offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, and provides members with access to a network of 2,900 ATMs across Australia.

Heritage recently announced its 12th consecutive record pre-tax profit in 2010/11.

Further inquiries: Andrew Fox, Manager Corporate Communications 0419 714 204
For further Heritage information go to www.heritage.com.au

* Based on a $150,000 loan over 25 years. WARNING: This comparison rate is true only for the examples given and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate.