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The non-major banking group has announced that it will combine Rural Bank and its business banking businesses into a single division.
While the two existing brands will be retained, it is hoped that bringing them into one division will help the bank prepare for future growth and “fast track” the banking group’s transformation agenda.
A new role of chief customer officer business and agribusiness has been created to lead the new division, and an executive search has reportedly now commenced.
Richard Fennell, the chief customer officer, consumer banking, has been appointed into the position in an acting capacity (alongside his current role) until a permanent chief customer officer business and agribusiness has been appointed.
Given the change, the CEO of Rural Bank, Alexandra Gartmann, has stepped down from her role after “decid[ing] that now [was] the right time to pursue other opportunities”.
She left her role on 1 February.
Meanwhile, business banking executive Bruce Speirs has been appointed to the new role of chief operating officer with a focus on “reducing complexity, strengthening processes and practices, and improving productivity across the bank”.
Speaking of the move, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank’s managing director, Marnie Baker, commented that unifying the divisions would help ensure customers continue to have access to “specialist knowledge and quality products offering compelling value, while also allowing the bank to streamline operations and deliver greater efficiencies”.
She stated: “Both the Rural Bank and business banking businesses have been positive growth and transformation stories for us.
“Bringing the businesses together will help us fast-track our transformation agenda and achieve our goal of becoming a bigger, better and stronger bank for our customers and the communities we serve.”
The bank thanked outgoing Rural Bank CEO Ms Gartmann for her leadership over the past six years, noting her “significant contribution” to the Rural Bank business and “more broadly across the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Group”.
The group said it wished her well in her future endeavours.
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