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Bank of Queensland purchase of ME Bank set to widen customer base to over 1 million Australians

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia). Feb. 2020 – Jan 2021, n=46,431. Base: Australians 14+.
Note: Bank of Queensland figures include customers of subsidiaries such as Virgin Money.
New data from Roy Morgan shows over 1 million Australians are customers of either Bank of Queensland or ME Bank. Bank of Queensland announced its intention to purchase 100% of ME Bank for $1.3 billion last week.

Bank of Queensland’s (BOQ) $1.3 billion purchase of ME Bank is the biggest merger of two local banks for over a decade and with over 1 million customers between them the bank will be behind only the four major banks and Bendigo Bank (the largest second-tier bank) for total customers.

A look at the customer profiles for the two banks shows significant geographical complementarity. While both banks have a significant footprint in New South Wales BOQ’s strength is in Queensland and Western Australia while over a third of ME Bank’s customers are from its home base of Victoria.

Over 80% of Bank of Queensland’s customers are in Queensland, New South Wales or Western Australia including nearly half in Queensland, while almost 80% of ME Bank’s customers are in Victoria, New South Wales or Queensland, including over a third in Victoria.

Bank of Queensland’s customers are older than ME Bank’s with over fifth, 21.5%, aged 65+ compared to only 13.9% for ME Bank. In contrast, ME Bank’s customers are of a slightly younger profile with around 60% aged from 35-64 compared to under 50% of Bank of Queensland’s customers.

Bank of Queensland and ME Bank customers by Age

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia). Feb. 2020 – Jan 2021, n=46,431. Base: Australians 14+. Note: Bank of Queensland figures include customers of subsidiaries such as Virgin Money.

Socio-economically the two banks’ customers are also quite different with Bank of Queensland’s customers spread fairly evenly across all five socio-economic quintiles while over half of ME Bank’s customers are in the top two quintiles – either the highest AB quintile (almost a third) or C quintile (about a quarter).

Employment is also a significant point of differentiation between the two customer bases with nearly three-quarters of ME Bank’s customers currently employed compared to only two-thirds (66%) of Bank of Queensland’s customers.

This difference is also evident about the types of jobs the two banks’ customers have with small business owners significantly over-represented amongst Bank of Queensland’s customers while Professionals, Managers and Semi-Professionals are the most over-represented amongst ME Bank’s customers.

Reflecting the bank’s focus on providing home loans (ME Bank’s biggest source of revenue1) nearly half of ME Bank’s customers are currently paying off their home compared to just over a quarter who own their own home. In contrast, a slightly larger share of Bank of Queensland’s customers own their own home (36%) than are paying off their home (35%).

1Financial Year 2020 Full Year Result: ME delivers strong financial result amid COVID-19: https://www.mebank.com.au/news/fy20-full-year-results/

Michele Levine, CEO Roy Morgan, says Bank of Queensland’s purchase of ME Bank brings together two banks with significantly different customer profiles which offers challenges but also opportunities for the merged entity:

“The challenge and opportunity for this merger lies in the differences in the individual bank customers. Both banks have satisfied customers: Roy Morgan Bank Customer Satisfaction Ratings: Bank of Queensland 82.9% and ME Bank 86.4%.

“Over many years and across many industries Roy Morgan has recorded higher levels of customer satisfaction for smaller players. It seems easier to satisfy the needs of customers who have chosen a smaller, niche, brand, than to satisfy the needs of a large, often heterogeneous customer base.

“History shows unsuccessful mergers that see an exodus of customers are those that failed to recognise the unique reasons customers chose their brand in the first place, and stayed with it.

 “The age profiles of the two banks also highlight some significant differences with ME Bank drawing nearly 80% of its customers from the key working-age demographic aged 25-64, and particularly 50-64 year olds. In contrast BOQ is over-represented amongst older Australians aged 65+.

“These age profiles contribute to other key differences between the two sets of customers. ME Bank’s customers are far more likely to be employed than those of BOQ and far more likely to be working as Professionals, Managers and Semi-Professionals. ME Bank’s customers are also far more likely to be paying off their home rather than owning it outright.

“These factors coalesce into not only very different demographic and psychographic profiles but also significant differences based on the values, mindsets and attitudes that motivate consumer behaviour that are represented by Roy Morgan’s Values Segments.

“ME Bank’s customers are heavily skewed towards the two most affluent Values Segments in particular with nearly 50% drawn from either Visible Achievement or Socially Aware compared to around a third of Bank of Queensland’s existing customers.

“People identified with Visible Achievement are successful and confident people who retain traditional values about home, work and society and who place a great emphasis on providing their families with a high quality environment. Socially Aware people are ‘information vacuum cleaners’ and tend to seek detailed information about their options and consider the consequences of each choice carefully before making a decision.

“If Bank of Queensland and ME Bank can continue to satisfy the needs and desires of their original customer bases and provide the value of scale the geographic and customer profile complementarity will see the new merged entity emerge as a serious player in the financial services market.”

Bank of Queensland and ME Bank customers by home ownership status


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia). Feb. 2020 – Jan 2021, n=46,431. Base: Australians 14+. Note: Bank of Queensland figures include customers of subsidiaries such as Virgin Money. There are a handful of respondents who have other living arrangements than the three options charted above.

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate

40%-60%

25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%

1,000

±3.0

±2.7

±1.9

±1.3

5,000

±1.4

±1.2

±0.8

±0.6

7,500

±1.1

±1.0

±0.7

±0.5

10,000

±1.0

±0.9

±0.6

±0.4

20,000

±0.7

±0.6

±0.4

±0.3

50,000

±0.4

±0.4

±0.3

±0.2