Banking Day

Branding redo costs WA 'neo-BNK'

10 April 2019 6:30am

Yet another restructure is on the horizon for BNK Banking Corp, a minnow striving for acclaim amid the neo-bank limelight.

A request to APRA to organise under a non-operating holding company model is in the works, Simon Lyons, CEO of BNK told an investor briefing yesterday. So far only Macquarie and volt Corporation have found a business case for a NOHC.

A time-consuming merger last year between Goldfields Money (BNK’s corporate name until a few weeks ago) and Finsure, a large mortgage aggregator has already stranded BNK with the highest expense ratio in the industry (93 per cent).

The new business model has also drawn scorn from BNK’s shareholders, wiping out 95 per cent of the bank’s market capitalisation since a trading high of A$1.63 early last year.

Recycling December 2018 half year metrics, Lyons assured his owners that the Perth-based financier was trading in the black, was aiming for net interest margin of no less than 2 per cent and with Finsure’s clout they had even doubled its (previously infinitesimal) market share.

BNK Bank will become the new trading name from late 2019, Lyons said, his strategy relying on posture as a “challenger” or even neo-bank, and thus obliging his board to dump the Goldfields brand selected seven years ago, when an isolated Kalgoorlie credit union headed out on a new adventure.

Simon Lyons used the presentation to pitch his novelty bank as not merely a contender but a plausible frontunner as banking evolves during an era in which neobanks and fintechs are jostling for new business in an increasingly contestable market.

BNK is ready for open banking, Lyons said, confident that its recently-installed Temenos banking platform brings reliability and none of the legacy headaches for larger, Australian rivals, including many mutual banks.

Lyons closed his presentation with the declaration: "I think on these metrics we pretty good value at these prices.”

By the close of trading yesterday, the Lyons pitch made little difference to BNK’s share price, 8 cents, up from this year’s nadir of 6.5 cents.

Article by: Ian Rogers

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