Non-bank lenders filling branch gaps

Smaller banks and non-bank lenders alike are now rushing to replace the holes left by the retreat of traditional bank branch networks.The large numbers of bank branch closures by the major banks in particular has become a competitive opportunity in the eyes of many financial service providers in recent months.

The success of Bendigo Bank's community banking scheme has forced providers to ‘think outside the square' of the traditional branch network.

In the latest move, non-bank lender RESI Mortgage Corporation has chosen Mt Waverley in Melbourne's eastern suburbs for the launch of its first Victorian franchise.

RESI’s Monash franchise is only the second Australian franchise to be launched in its nationwide expansion program which will see up to 100 RESI franchise operations rolled out in the next two years.

The majors are sticking to their guns, mostly due to the overhead costs of maintaining a large branch network.

Bendigo Bank and HSBC have all identified ways of bringing branch banking back to the community.

Wizard Financial Services, and to a lesser degree Mortgage House, have also recognised the marketing value of placing a branch into a suburban shopping strip – it creates brand awareness.

It's not as simple as merely ‘build it and they will come'. Consumers want service and there's growing evidence they are finding an abundance of this at many of Australia's credit unions.

Around 3.6 million Australians – almost one quarter of Australia's adult population – are credit union customers.