Automobile club, RACQ, launches first bank branches today
RACQ is the first motoring club in the world to launch a mutual bank.
Queensland motoring club RACQ has launched its initial 13 bank branches in Queensland today, making it the first automobile group in the world to launch a mutual bank. The move comes after the club merged with QT Mutual Bank in 2016.
The automobile club will now offer its 1.6 million members a full range of banking services, including personal bank accounts, personal loans and home loans. It will also offer innovative, modern technologies, including a mobile banking app and various payment options such as Android Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.
RACQ has converted 13 QT Mutual Bank branches into the new mutual bank branches, which officially open from today, and will continue to convert its existing stores throughout the state into branches over the next few years.
The Business Council of Co-ops and Mutuals (BCCM), which represents the member-owned sector, says the launch of RACQ's Mutual Bank is a huge win for consumers and the sector. "It shows what Australians can do with the mutual model when they have access to capital," said BCCM CEO Melina Morrison.
“We are particularly enthusiastic about the innovative digital payments the RACQ is offering to their customers and their commitment to low or no fees. The mutual banks we represent have all invested in these customer-focused service upgrades, which will only hasten the exodus from the big banks,” Morrison says.
The launch of RACQs Mutual Bank comes at a time when the government is looking into the current legislation surrounding member-owned enterprises and the sectors' access to capital, known as the Hammond inquiry, which was first initiated in March. The government acknowledges the important role these organisations play in Australia's economy by providing competition and choice for consumers.
In July, the government announced its plans to remove the regulations currently stopping smaller players, like mutuals and building societies, from calling themselves banks. These measures are a win for consumers as they facilitate greater competition and innovation in the banking sector.
The BCCM welcomes the Hammond inquiry, saying, "We can only imagine what our agile member-owned business can achieve if they are freed from the shackles restricting their access to capital".