BoQ’s Goldilocks effect: Growing into a big bank while appearing to be small

One of the big challenges ahead of Bank of Queensland is satisfying a whole batch of ME Bank’s customers which includes a swag of people known as “information vacuum cleaners”.

Mar 08, 2021, updated Mar 08, 2021
The merger will create problems and opportunities for BoQ

The merger will create problems and opportunities for BoQ

The $1.3 billion merger of the two banks will bring together BoQ’s traditional banking network and a focus on small business with ME’s younger, internet savvy customers, but that’s just the start of it, according to Roy Morgan Research.

Roy Morgan said the new entity could become a significant player in financial services of it managed to satisfy the widely varying values as well as grab the opportunities of scale.

Apart from the fact that the customers from either bank were concentrated in different states they also appeared to have vastly different values, incomes and goals.

About the only issue where the two banks had common ground was that their customers were satisfied the way things were.

Roy Morgan chief executive Michelle Levine said this was typical of smaller organisations.

“History shows unsuccessful mergers that see an exodus of customers are those that failed to recognise the unique reasons customers chose their brand in the first place and stayed with it,” Levine said.

She said the merger, which was the biggest in the banking sector in more than a decade, would mean BoQ  would rank sixth biggest in Australia behind the Big Four and Bendigo Bank and it would present opportunities and challenges because the two banks had ”quite different” customers.

About 20 per cent of BoQ’s customers were aged 65 or above whereas that demographic was only 14 per cent of ME’s customer base. About 60 per cent of its customers were aged between 35 and 64, significantly higher than BoQ’s 50 per cent.

In wealth terms, BoQ’s customer base was spread across the spectrum whereas half of ME’s customers were in the highest demographic (the AB quintile) or the C quintile.

Levine said the vastly different customer profiles meant there were big variations in the values those people held.

“ME Bank’s customers are heavily skewed towards the two most affluent values segments with nearly 50 per cent drawn from either “visible achievement” or “socially aware”, compared to around a third of BoQ’s existing customers,” Levine said.

The visible achievers were successful and confident and retained traditional values about home, work and society and placed a higher emphasis on providing their families with a high-quality environment.

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Socially aware people were “information vacuum cleaners”. They wanted detailed information about their options.

Levine said if BoQ and ME Bank couldd continue to satisfy the needs and desires of their original customer bases and provide value of scale the merger presents the merged entity could be a “serious player in the financial services market”.







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