Maleny Credit Union has confirmed its services will transfer to Queensland Country Bank.
Maleny Credit Union has confirmed its services will transfer to Queensland Country Bank.

$2.4b outfit takes over Coast’s ‘hippy bank’

After several failed merger and sale attempts a "hippy bank" of 36 years will no longer service a hinterland township.

The $2.4 billion member-owned Queensland Country Bank will take over Maleny Credit Union and open a branch at Bunya House, Maple St this month.

Maleny Credit Union acting chief executive John Ford said the business transfer meant the hinterland township would continue to have a community bank.

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He said Queensland Country Bank had the financial capacity to keep up with technology demands within the banking sector that the credit union did not.

The 3100-member business had $56.2 million in total assets at the end of the 2020 financial year, according to its annual report.

It said loans to members dropped by $4.1 million to $27.9 million.

In comparison Queensland Country Bank's total assets were listed as $2.4 billion last year.

Attempts of sales and mergers date back to 2011 when members protested and voted against a proposed deal with Credit Union Australia.

In March 2020 a planned acquisition by non-bank lender Firstmac for $7 million fell through after Treasurer Josh Frydenberg deemed it was not in the national interest.

Discussions were also had with Ezi Financial Services for a merger but were terminated in September last year by Maleny Credit Union.

Its annual report said EziFin has started proceedings in Supreme Court of Queensland which the Maleny business intends to defend.

Mr Ford said members were told of the looming transfer to Queensland Country Bank at an Annual General Meeting last year.

"We wanted to make sure a branch continued here for a foreseeable future," Mr Ford said.

"Banking is a heavily regulated industry and that creates a lot of overhead costs.

"The technology required is also substantial and at this stage simply beyond Maleny Credit Union's means.

"There's an expectation for substantial online delivery and Maleny Credit Union can't afford that investment."

Mr Ford said transferring the business to another that was committed to keeping a branch open was a priority for the board.

"Maleny Credit Union has been around since 1984 and absolutely served a purpose," he said.

"It will now remain in the hands of another member-owned organisation which I think will take it to the next level."

He said the board of directors approved the deal without a member vote.

It will continue to operate the Maleny Charitable Trust with profits from its ownership of Bunya House.

Members will be granted membership in the Queensland Country Bank credit union.

Some of the nine staff will work at the new branch and others opted for redundancies.


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