HUME Building Society’s boss says changing to a bank from July 1 won’t make it susceptible to a takeover.
Chief executive And-rew Saxby yesterday said the change to Hume Bank Limited had just been approved by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority.
“We know, and a lot of customers know, we offer the full range of products that people expect from a bank,” he said.
“Changing our name to Hume Bank will make it very clear to people what they should or would expect from us.”
Mr Saxby said Hume had received some feedback about its susceptibility to being swallowed up by a larger bank.
“We’re getting probably one a week where people are saying: ‘I’m nervous about what this will mean for Hume’,” he said.
Mr Saxby said some building societies had become banks 25 to 30 years ago.
“They listed shares at the time and they changed from being owned by their customers to owned by shareholders,” he said.
“We understand there’s some nervousness at the moment — the last building societies that became banks increased fees and stopped being as friendly as they were.”
But Mr Saxby said the board and executive were committed to Hume continuing to be owned by its customers “and so we can’t be bought”.
“The owners have got nothing to sell, they just own a right to use us,” he said.
“And because we’re not issuing shares, we’re not going to change our focus and increase fees or close a branch.”
Mr Saxby said because Hume had had nine months to prepare for the change, new branding would coincide with the change-over.
“We will close the doors on Monday, June 30 with Hume Building Society on our uniforms and on our branches and we open the next day with Hume Bank uniforms and branches,” he said.
“Some of our advertising logos at footy fields and around the community might take us a week or two to replace.”
The society’s chairman Michael Gobel confirmed Hume had no intention on becoming a listed organisation.
“We are a mutual company, owned by our customers, for our customers — listing on the stock exchange would destroy that,” he said.
“Ninety-five per cent of members who voted at the annual general meeting on October 17 voted to support Hume seeking APRA’s consent to become Hume Bank.
“Having the overwhelming support of members really reinforces to us that our owners support this move.”