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Former bank CEO joins SocietyOne

The previous ME Bank CEO, Jamie McPhee, has joined the non-bank lender’s board as a non-executive director, along with a former American Express executive.

Marketplace lender SocietyOne has appointed Jamie McPhee and Melanie Cochrane as independent non-executive directors, as it "gears up" for an initial public offer (IPO) this year.

According to the lender, the appointments would bring “significant additional” experience in financial services to SocietyOne, which it said would strengthen its strategy, governance and risk capabilities as it begins its next stage of growth and development.

Mr McPhee has over 30 years of experience in financial services, having previously been the CEO of industry fund-owned ME Bank (however, ME Bank recently announced that it would be acquired by Bank of Queensland (BOQ) after BOQ secured a $1.3 billion equity funding package and ME Bank's shareholders unanimously agreed to accept an all-cash offer from BOQ).

In July last year, Mr McPhee resigned from his role at ME Bank after 10 years, after the bank reduced the amount borrowers could redraw from specific legacy mortgage products without providing customers with any warning.

The bank and Mr McPhee faced backlash from customers, brokers and the broader community.

Following on from the controversy, Mr McPhee appeared before the House of Representatives standing committee on economics for “an urgent public hearing” into the issue, where he acknowledged that the decision was “poorly communicated”, but said he believed that the bank made the right decision.   

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His previous roles have included being the managing director of Adelaide Bank for 20 years and the executive director of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank.

Ms Cochrane was previously the senior vice president at American Express, where she led the merchant service business for the Asia-Pacific region, and prior to that, corporate payments. She held various other roles at American Express for 25 years.

Commenting on the board appointments, SocietyOne CEO Mark Jones said: “Jamie and Melanie bring significant and relevant corporate experience to SocietyOne and equip us with capabilities that will help us sharpen our strategic focus and accelerate the momentum the business is enjoying. 

“I’d like to personally welcome both Jamie and Melanie to the team and am looking forward to their contributions.”

Speaking about his appointment to the board, Mr McPhee said: “SocietyOne is at an extraordinary time in its journey. I am pleased to be joining the board and having the opportunity to contribute to the next phase of the company’s growth and development.”

Ms Cochrane also spoke about her appointment, stating: “I am thrilled to be joining the board. I believe this is an exciting time for SocietyOne in its growth journey, and with the key ingredients of a market-leading customer experience and digital know-how, I see a very bright future.”

SocietyOne recently launched its first secured personal loan product, which enables borrowers to borrow up to $70,000 if they use an asset as a security.

The secured personal loans are currently available via all affiliated brokers and will soon be released more broadly to any applicant seeking finance through the SocietyOne website.

Westpac recently announced that SocietyOne was its second partner to join its new digital banking-as-a-service platform.

[Related: ME Bank announces new CEO]

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