QUEENSLAND banking group Suncorp is stepping up its presence in Western Australia amid a flurry of activity in the sector.
During the past 18 months, Commonwealth Bank bought BankWest (and announced this week 250 WA jobs would be cut), Westpac bought St George Bank, and Bank of Queensland bought Home Building Society.
Suncorp has teamed up with former Australian Test cricketer, Adam Gilchrist, to launch a new community partnership in WA, which the company hopes will cement its position in the state's financial services landscape while giving something back to the people of WA.
Mr Gilchrist will front SunWise, a new statewide skin cancer awareness campaign launched last week by Suncorp and the Western Australian Institute for Medical Research-based Scott Kirkbride Melanoma Research Centre (SKMRC).
Suncorp group executive banking, David Foster, said the company's successful partnership with the Queensland Institute of Medical Research during the past five years meant partnering with SKMRC was an obvious path for the company to follow in WA.
"We saw our success, and we were really passionate about that in Queensland," he said.
"We saw a lot of parallels and opportunities to help the fantastic cause that is the SKMRC, as part of WAIMR, and to really transport the sort of involvement we had in Queensland over to the institute here," Mr Foster said.
"There's a good opportunity for all the parties involved to have a win-win out of the relationship."
After opening six WA branches in as many months, with the seventh branch opening in Morley this week, Mr Foster is confident Suncorp's solid footing in the state will be enhanced through this partnership.
"We've got a great welcome here in WA from the community and really responding to that need, from a banking market point of view, it gives us a great opportunity," Mr Foster said.
"There's been a lot of change in the banking landscape in the past 12 to 18 months and customers are certainly looking for that service offering that we, given we're not one of the old, large banks, can provide and there's clearly a need there from a consumer point of view.
"From a business point of view, we're very confident and comfortable in our commitment ongoing in WA, and we thought now was the right time to give something back to the community and that's really at the core of how we do business and integrating into the community."
Suncorp has at least a further six branches planned for WA and is looking to expand its business banking and agribusiness, as well as leverage existing relationships and business opportunities through its GIO insurance brand.
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