Westpac signs SocietyOne as next digital bank 'as-a-service' partner

Meanwhile, Bank of Queensland goes after Big Four share with AU$1.33 billion ME Bank purchase

Westpac has announced SocietyOne will be joining its digital banking-as-a-service platform, allowing the startup to launch its transaction account play.

Westpac has touted that SocietyOne has 75,000 customers and originates over AU$1 billion in loans.

The red and white bank's GM of corporate and business development Macgregor Duncan said SocietyOne was an exciting long-term growth opportunity for Westpac. He said it would allow Westpac to reach new customers through a low-cost operating and distribution model, grow valuable deposit balances, and eventually expand its offer to lending and data services.

"We recognise that Australians are looking for new and different ways to do their banking and by partnering with established brands and leveraging our combined data resources, we can provide better, more personal experiences for customers," he said.

Westpac announced its investment in the digital banking platform during its full-year results in 2019. In October, the bank added Afterpay as its first partner.

SocietyOne was founded in 2012 and Westpac's venture capital partnership Reinventure has been an investor in SocietyOne since February 2014.

Elsewhere, Bank of Queensland (BOQ) on Monday announced it would acquire digital bank ME Bank for just shy of AU$1.33 billion.

BOQ will fund the purchase with a AU$1.35 billion equity raise.

"Today's announcement is another major step in our strategy to be the leading customer-centric alternative to the big banks," BOQ chairman Patrick Allaway said. "With the addition of the ME Bank business, BOQ now has material scale and a compelling growth platform to support this ambition."

Combined, the group will have pro forma total assets valued at over AU$88 billion, BOQ told shareholders, with total deposits of more than AU$56 billion.

Completion of the acquisition is targeted before the end of BOQ's 2021 financial year, subject to regulatory approval.

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