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Bank of Melbourne to launch in August 2011

Today we are delighted to announce the launch of a new bank in Victoria during August 2011 - Bank of Melbourne!

Bank of Melbourne is a bank designed by Victorians to serve the needs of Victorians. Over the next five years it will grow to over 100 branches and corporate banking centres and 300 ATMs, making life more convenient for customers. 14 new branches are expected to open throughout 2011, including branches in Fitzroy, Richmond, Carnegie, Forest Hill, Point Cook, as well as the Melbourne CBD. All will be open by the time of the 2011 AFL Grand Final.

A Victorian leadership team that makes decisions on products, services and pricing locally, combined with a Victorian call centre will underpin Bank of Melbourne’s commitment to the State and its local communities. The substantial expansion under the Bank of Melbourne brand will boost local employment, creating up to 800 new jobs in Victoria.

Investment involved in launching the Bank of Melbourne, including establishing the infrastructure to support the new bank, is expected to be around $90 million with $26 million spent to date. Incremental costs will be incurred as we fit out the new branches and corporate banking centres.

In Victoria, St.George branches and corporate banking centres will convert to Bank of Melbourne and will continue to deliver the friendly service and innovation that St.George is renowned for. Bank of Melbourne will be part of Australia’s largest network of local banking brands together with St.George Bank and BankSA. This means Bank of Melbourne customers can go to any interstate branch or ATM from these banks and be served as if they were dealing with their local Bank of Melbourne branch.

“Bank of Melbourne is an exciting initiative and one we believe will be embraced by St.George Bank customers in Victoria and Victorians in general. Our customers and the market have told us that they want a local bank, one that is really engaged in the local communities in which it operates. Bank of Melbourne will be that bank – a bank whose heart and soul is in Victoria - that tailors its products and services to meet the needs of the local Victorian people and local Victorian businesses,” said Scott Tanner Chief Executive, Bank of Melbourne.

“Victoria is Australia’s second-largest economy. Victoria continues to be a growth engine for the nation. Victorians deserve their own bank – one that offers a real alternative to the majors and that is going to compete hard to earn your banking, wealth and insurance business.

“Being part of a network of local banking brands, we do not need to grow interstate, enabling us to focus solely on serving the needs of the Victorian people and Victorian businesses. Our success will be measured by our success here in this State.”

Planning is well advanced for the launch to ensure a smooth transition for St.George Bank customers and staff in Victoria, some of whom are involved in the design and development of Bank of Melbourne. “Actively involving our existing customers and staff in the design of the new business will ensure that we build on the great foundation that St.George Bank has built in Victoria over the past 20 years,” Mr Tanner said.

“I am delighted to announce that Peter Lock has been appointed Bank of Melbourne Chief Operating Officer. Peter has been a mainstay of our St.George business here for the last eight years and is highly regarded by staff and customers,” Mr Tanner added.

Elizabeth Proust has been appointed Chairman of Bank of Melbourne and together with Carol Schwartz, Peter Hawkins, Rob Chapman and Scott Tanner makes up the Board of the new bank.

“For the moment it is business as usual for St.George in Victoria. Over time our customers will benefit from the addition of new branches and ATMs and a local call centre. We have teams on the ground ready to assist customers and to provide them with as much information as they need about the new Bank of Melbourne and how they can be a part of this exciting initiative. We encourage any customer who has a question or concern to contact us directly on 13 22 66,” Mr Tanner said.