06/04/2006 - 07:47

HBF in alliance with BoQ

06/04/2006 - 07:47

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Western Australian health insurance giant HBF has taken a major step in its strategy of offering a wider range of financial services by signing a memorandum of understanding with Bank of Queensland.

Western Australian health insurance giant HBF has taken a major step in its strategy of offering a wider range of financial services by signing a memorandum of understanding with Bank of Queensland.

HBF managing director Mike Gurry today said HBF had signed the MOU to investigate the possibility of providing a select range of financial services with the Brisbane-based bank.

The new products will be housing loans, savings accounts and personal loans and will be manufactured by Bank of Queensland and sold as HBF-branded products.

"The housing loans will be done through another arm of the business by 'mortgage qualified' people," Mr Gurry told WA Business News.

"Other simpler transactions will be handled as an extension of the products we currently look after today.

"These new products are a natural extension of HBF's current range of services, as they offer protection and well being to WA families.

"As a not-for-profit mutual organisation, HBF is committed to focussing on generating growth in areas other than health insurance to reduce the pressure on health insurance premiums," Mr Gurry continued.

Mr Gurry said HBF had no aspirations to become a traditional bank, but felt it could provide a select range of financial services products that would form part of its broader suite of products on offer.

A formal agreement with the Bank of Queensland in respect of the new products should be signed by mid-year, and HBF expect to have the products available in the latter part of the year.

Mr Gurry told WA Business News that some products may be released earlier, rather than just as one job lot.

He also said that at this point HBF wasn't looking to distribute its products via Bank of Queensland.

WA Business News yesterday revealed the Bank of Queensland would be opening its first WA retail branch in Subiaco on April 26 with another expected within two months and long-term plans for at least eight more branches.

It is also looking to offer business banking services in WA.

Bank of Queensland managing director David Liddy said the HBF announcement would not impact on the Bank's roll-out of its own franchised branch network in Western Australia.

"The two are completely different, and separate. Our Owner-Managed Branches are based on personal service and full-service banking. Our alliance with HBF would provide specific products for their members under the HBF banner," Mr Liddy said.

The Bank of Queensland is the second largest Queensland-based financial institution and the state's fifth-largest listed company with more than 130 years' experience in financial services.

HBF is a WA-based not-for-profit mutual organisation with nearly 900,000 members. It is the largest health insurer in WA and has successful general insurance and financial planning businesses.

The announcement comes at a time when banks and credit unions are themselves diversifying into other financial services.

The market in Western Australia includes players such as BankWest's insurance and wealth management business St Andrews, who has formed an alliance with RAC Victoria to expand its customer base.

The proposed likely merger of Home Building Society and StateWest Credit Society will result in a customer base of around 100,000, and the new entity will also place extra emphasis on the provision of financial services outside of its traditional product lines.

 

Below is the HBF announcement:

HBF has moved to the next stage of its diversification plans as it examines a possible alliance with the Bank of Queensland.

HBF Managing Director Mike Gurry today announced HBF had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Bank of Queensland to investigate the possibility of providing a select range of financial services.

"These new products are a natural extension of HBF's current range of services, as they offer protection and wellbeing to WA families," he said.

"As a not-for-profit mutual organisation, HBF is committed to focussing on generating growth in areas other than health insurance to reduce the pressure on health insurance premiums.

"The ageing population and spiralling costs for health technology and treatment are continually putting pressure on health insurance premiums and HBF is focussed on finding alternative income streams to help ensure the long-term viability of the fund.

"HBF has no aspirations to become a traditional bank, but feel we can provide a select range of financial service products that will form part of our broader suite of products on offer."

Mr Gurry said that over the past few years HBF had been investigating how best to deliver financial products to members and decided that partnering with a well established financial institution was the best way forward.

"We believe the Bank of Queensland would be an ideal fit with our culture, as it has a similar focus on customer service and values, especially about doing the right thing by customers," he said.

"We see this new relationship as the ideal opportunity to deliver high quality financial solutions tailored to members' needs, such as home loans, savings accounts and personal loans."

Bank of Queensland Managing Director David Liddy said HBF is an organisation with the same customer-focused approach to business as the Bank of Queensland and culturally the two organisations are well-matched.

"BOQ is particularly proud to be chosen by HBF to provide these products over much larger competitors," he said.

Mr Gurry said as a not-for-profit mutual organisation, HBF's focus is very much on members, not profits, and this would be illustrated in the new products on offer.

The MOU is the first stage in BOQ and HBF moving towards a formal alliance where financial products manufactured by BOQ could be provided by HBF to its members under the HBF brand.

The new products are expected to be launched towards the end of the year.

The Bank of Queensland is a cornerstone Queensland institute. It is the second largest Queensland-based financial institution and fifth-largest listed company with more than 130 years' experience in financial services.

The bank's innovative focus on providing financial solutions for clients has seen it receive a stream of accolades for its outstanding performance.

HBF is a WA-based not-for-profit mutual organisation with nearly 900,000 members. It is the largest health insurer in WA and has successful general insurance and financial planning businesses.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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