Bendigo and Adelaide Bank has announced it will acquire Melbourne-based fintech, Ferocia Pty Ltd (Ferocia), to hasten its digital strategy and “shape the future of banking for a new generation of customers”.
The acquisition of 100 per cent of the shares in Ferocia is for a total consideration of up to $116 million, and will be paid in shares (with a portion of the consideration being contingent on future performance).
The software development company, which has been operating Bendigo Bank’s banking app and e-banking plaform for the past nine years, also owns the banking app, Up.
Up was launched in 2018 as a collaboration between Ferocia and Bendigo and Adelaide Bank and currently has 400,000 customers and $840 million in deposits.
It had previously operated under a collaboration model and is already supported by the bank’s core infrastructure.
Whilst the Ferocia team will join the bank under the proposed acquisition, Ferocia will continue to operate independently as a stand-alone division to support its innovation, engineering, and design culture.
The deal will consolidate ownership of Up and enable Bendigo and Adelaide Bank to grow and advance the platform and bring efficiencies in the way the Bendigo e-banking app and internet banking platform are delivered to customers.
The banking group revealed that it would look to build Up’s product road map – including by rolling out a mortgage offering backed by Bendigo’s digital home loan partner, Tic:Toc. According to the bank, 30 per cent of active Up customers are currently saving for a home loan.
While the deal is subject to conditions precedent, if these conditions are fulfilled, the transaction is expected to complete before the end of the financial year.
Bendigo and Adelaide Bank said the acquisition would “cement the enormously successful partnership” between the fintech and the banking, and utilise the “collective innovation, heritage and matched capabilities to further grow a unique digital banking proposition”.
Marnie Baker, managing director of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, commented: “The announcement unites our strong customer, community and innovation heritage with Ferocia’s market leading digital capability to deliver all Australians world-leading digital banking experiences.
“Through our partnership, we have embraced Up as a strategic, digital testbed – reimagining new banking experiences for a new generation of customers – and its rapid growth has far exceeded all expectations.”
Suggesting that Up had already “empowered a new generation of savers”, she added that the acquisition would secure the bank’s “market leading position with this emerging, influential demographic”.
“As we further accelerate Up’s rapid pace of innovation and growth and further expand revenue opportunities through Up, customers of our other brands will benefit from Ferocia’s digital innovation and experience,” she said.
“We will also continue to support the innovation the Ferocia team have delivered over the last nine years, with Up remaining as the same brand, run by the same people, with the same customer proposition.”
Dominic Pym, co-founder of Ferocia, added: “Our partnership with Bendigo and Adelaide Bank started with an objective to re-imagine banking. When we launched Up in 2018, we set out to disrupt the industry by building a completely different experience through a technology-led banking – not bank-led technology – approach.
“The launch of Up ushered in a new digital banking age through a unique fintech and bank partnership.
“With a vision to be Australia’s number one consumer lifestyle brand, the time is right to scale Up through a deepened relationship and new product offerings from the bank, whilst bringing Ferocia’s expertise to the rest of the Bank’s highly engaged customer base.”
Annie Kane is the editor of The Adviser and Mortgage Business.
As well as writing about the Australian broking industry, the mortgage market, financial regulation, fintechs and the wider lending landscape – Annie is also the host of the Elite Broker and In Focus podcasts and The Adviser Live webcasts.