‘Historic milestone’ as Heritage, People’s Choice unveil unified brand name

rebrand Heritage People's Choice People First

Officially merging in March this year, the Queensland-based Heritage Bank and South Australia-based People’s Choice have now unveiled their anticipated brand name as a unified organisation.

Nine months after the mutuals’ official merger, the brand will now be known, collectively, as People First Bank.

According to the pair, the name matches the group’s commitment to “purpose-driven, customer-focused” banking.

People First Bank, and former People’s Choice, chair Michael Cameron said the new brand name “builds on the strengths and values of both organisations over our near 150-year history while standing out in today’s highly competitive banking environment”.

People First chief executive Peter Lock, formerly CEO of the standalone Heritage, said selection of the new brand name was underpinned by extensive consultation with customers and employees.

“We are owned by our customers. There is no doubt about our priorities. We exist to serve the interests of our customers,” Lock said.

He added: “Unlike the listed bank model, we don’t have the conflict of having to generate massive profits to pay dividends to shareholders. Our profits remain in the business to provide ongoing value to customers and their communities.

Lock noted that the two entities had “no intention of adopting a multi-brand approach”, promising to follow through on its commitment to develop a single new brand name.

“[We] have always aspired to create a strong new national brand that genuinely challenges the profit-maximisation model of the listed banks.”

The rebranding process will commence from March next year.

Across its now multi-state footprint, People First boasts more than 730,000 customers, around 2,000 employees and total assets of $23.3 billion.

Since its merger, the group has maintained a relatively healthy balance sheet, delivering $32.1 million net profit after tax through the 2022-23 financial year, and a five per cent jump in its loan book over the previous FY, hitting $19.1 billion.

According to the group, the strong profit result was achieved despite an additional $24.4 million of expenses incurred during the first year of the merger and integration process.

Fellow mutual bank Newcastle and Greater Bank (which, coincidentally, also merged in March this year) have, for now, opted to keep their trading names separate. But they have formed a single legal entity, Newcastle Greater Mutual Group, or NGM Group, that collectively oversees both brands.