Letter to Bendigo Bank re B of Qld merger

Dear (My lovely financial lender),

It was with great distress that I read of the potential takeover bid of Bendigo Bank by Bank of Queensland.

As you are aware, I opted to secure my home loan with Bendigo Bank as it operates through a community-based business model.

I was a customer of Bank of Queensland for some time, but then left it as Bank of Q runs an owner-managed branch model. For some time I actively banked through Credit Union Australia until I discovered Bendigo’s values were more closely aligned with my own.

As far as banks go, Bendigo is a bank I consider to function with one of the most ethical business models for banks. I admire the ethical options it provides customers such as the Oxfam cash management account.

I’m concerned about the risks involved with driving the two models under a combined group.
I understand that, unfortunately, the Bendigo Bank board is required by law to consider the best interests of its shareholders, and it must weigh up the potential value that could be obtained from remaining independent against that offered by a takeover.

However, I also read with hope that the directors of Bendigo Bank have made it clear they consider the support and commitment of other stakeholders, including staff, customers, alliance partners and communities in which it operates. It seems they appreciate that this is part of the value of the bank’s unique business model and therefore should taken into account.

I write to urge the management at Ascot Bendigo Bank and with the directors that I am certainly the sort of customer that they should consider in their decision-making process.

Additionally, a question I’d like to raise is – who decides what the best interests of its shareholders are? Do ‘best interests’ mean financial interests? Can this stretch to social and environment interests? Interests of greater good?

If you could pass this letter on to your management and board of directors, it would mean so much to me.

Thanks for your time,

Elissa.

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