Hunter United and IMB Bank announce merger plans

  • By AB+F Editorial

Hunter United has announced plans to merge with IMB Bank as the sector continues to consolidate. 

The announcement follows the recent decision by G&C Mutual Bank and Unity Bank to merge

In an assessment of the mutual bank sector, S&P acknowledged that the sector is typified by a regional focus but mergers in the industry would be on the cards.

It’s not the first merger considered by Hunter United. In September 2017, plans to merge with Beyond Bank Australia were scuttled. 

Hunter United CEO, Tim Blomfield, said the merger with IMB Bank will offer an expanded range of products and services to Hunter United members.

“Hunter United is growing and is in a good financial position, but this merger gives us a combined strength to offer existing and new members the changing products and services they want,” Blomfield said.

“Competition is intensifying and regulatory and other costs increasing, so merging with a like-minded organisation is the best way to continue to serve our members and protect our customer-owned way of banking,” he said.

He said before the AGM members will receive more detailed information about the benefits of the merger which will include: an expanded range of products and services; improved pricing on home loans, personal loans and term deposits; updated technology including mobile payments, and the removal of most transaction fees and monthly account keeping fees.

There will be no job losses for local staff.

IMB chairman Noel Cornish said there is a strong cultural fit between the two organisations.

Cornish said Hunter United and IMB Bank share many common values including a commitment to customer ownership, prioritising our customers’ needs and a grass roots community focus.

“Together we can deliver even more benefits for both organisations’ customers and staff as well as the broader Hunter community,” Cornish said

“With Hunter United, we can better achieve our vision of being the leading customer owned financial institution in NSW,” he said.

“Hunter United’s strong relationships and experience, our broader product range, and our combined financial strength, means we can better serve existing members, attract new members and expand our community programs and investment in the region.”

Hunter United has approximately 9,000 members, assets worth $334 million and five local branches. IMB Bank has 198,000 members and assets of $6 billion.