The Bank of Queensland (ASX:BOQ) has officially acquired ME Bank

As the Bank of Queensland welcomes ME Bank into its family, its CEO is calling for less conglomeration among the big banks

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Bank of Queensland Limited (ASX: BOQ) has finalised what its chair describes as a “defining moment” for the bank today, as Members Equity Bank (ME Bank) is welcomed into its faction.

The news comes as Bank of Queensland’s CEO calls for less conglomeration among Australia’s big banks.

At the time of writing, the Bank of Queensland share price hasn’t reacted to the news. It’s currently 1.37% lower than yesterday’s closing price, with shares in the bank swapping hands for $8.98.

Quick refresher

Bank of Queensland announced in February it was to acquire Me Bank for $1.325 billion.

In late May, ME Bank was hit with criminal charges over false and misleading practices.

Finally, the proposed conglomeration received the Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Australia’s approval on 21 June.

What happened today?

The acquisition’s finalisation comes on the same day Bank of Queensland’s CEO George Frazis spoke to a standing committee focusing on financial institutions.

He told the committee the acquisition of ME Bank gives Bank of Queensland a better balance of customers. He said prior to the acquisition, around 60% of the bank’s business was through its small business customers, while 40% came from its personal banking customers.

After purchasing ME Bank, the balance is closer to 50/50.

Additionally, Frazis said the larger capital base enables the bank to grow both its personal and business banking components.

He also said the acquisition gives the bank’s business a better geographical balance. It now has more customers in New South Wales and Victoria than it did before.  

Additionally, Frazis gave this comment:

Importantly, what [the acquisition of ME Bank] enables us to do is to invest heavily in terms of our digital transformation… enabling us to be more competitive in terms of the service that we’re providing for customers that choose to bank with us.

Perhaps ironically, he also told the committee that Bank of Queensland would frown upon any further consolidation by Australia’s big banks, saying:

If you look at the four majors, we personally would not be supportive of any further consolidation if that can be avoided…

If you look at the combination of (Bank of Queensland) and ME Bank, which is strategically very compelling, that does create a much more competitive environment. But even with that combination, our combined group has the order of around 3% share of the banking sector, so we are still a small player.

Bank of Queensland share price snapshot

Despite today’s fall, the Bank of Queensland share price has been having a good year.

It’s gained 19% since the beginning of 2021. It has also gained 49% since this time last year.

The bank has a market capitalisation of around $5.8 billion, with approximately 639 million shares outstanding.

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Motley Fool contributor Brooke Cooper has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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