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APRA approves bank merger

The prudential regulator has greenlighted a merger between two NSW-based lenders.

Illawarra-based lender IMB Bank has completed its merger with Newcastle-based lender Hunter United Employees’ Credit Union after receiving regulatory approval from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA).

This comes after the proposal, which was first announced in mid-2019, received approval from 95 per cent of Hunter United’s members in March.

The merged entity, made up of over 200,000 members, now collectively operates 53 branches and manages assets totalling approximately $6.3 billion.  

For the foreseeable future, Hunter United will operate locally under its own brand as a division of IMB.

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To “facilitate a smooth transition”, members’ current banking arrangements will also remain unchanged across both brands “until the two separate banking systems are integrated in approximately nine months”.

IMB has stressed that there would be no job losses as a result of this merger, adding that staff entitlements would be preserved.

As per the terms of the transaction, Hunter United chair Jann Gardner has joined the IMB Bank board as an additional director.

IMB chief executive Robert Ryan welcomed APRA’s approval of the merger.

“This is an exciting time for IMB as we celebrate 140 years of operations. The merger was overwhelmingly supported by Hunter United members earlier this year, and we are pleased that it strengthens our ties with the Newcastle-Hunter community and increases our distribution capability,” he said.

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“IMB and Hunter United are like-minded organisations with proud histories of community support and doing the right thing by our customers. Together, we present a compelling proposition in the Hunter region, and together we’ll continue to bring our customer-focused, personal style to more people looking for positive change in their banking.”

Mr Ryan added that the merger would also allow Hunter United to “better meet the challenges of increased competition in the banking sector” and the “increasing costs of operating and responding to regulatory change”.

The chief executive also noted that Hunter United’s members would now have access to MB’s “expanded range” product and service offerings,

Hunter United CEO Tim Blomfield added: “The merger with IMB Bank is an important step, not just for our organisation but for our members and local communities. As a customer-owned bank, IMB shares our values and belief to act in the members’ interests and support our community.

“A wider and more competitive range of products, improved technology and services and career opportunities for our team staff are just some of the benefits this merger will provide.”

Mr Ryan concluded by noting that IMB would expand its community programs and investment in the Hunter region, including through the IMB Bank Community Foundation, which provides grants to community and not-for-profit initiatives.

[Related: IMB bolsters mortgage book amid challenging environment]

APRA approves bank merger
APRA approves bank merger
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Charbel Kadib

Charbel Kadib is the news editor on the mortgages titles at Momentum Media.

Before joining the team in 2017, Charbel completed internships with public relations agency Fifty Acres, and the Department of Communications and the Arts.

You can email Charbel on: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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