Bendigo might ditch Adelaide and Delphi retail brands

George Lekakis Authorised deposit-taking institutions
Bendigo rations its baking and branding budgets    (Image:  LinkedIn)
Bendigo rations its baking and branding budgets (Image: LinkedIn)

As Bendigo Bank’s new managing director Marnie Baker prepares to rework the group’s multi-brand strategy, analysts and customers are waiting for word on which of the group’s eight standalone banking platforms will be binned.

Baker announced plans on Monday for a deep cull of the group’s stable of brands at the company’s interim profit announcement in Melbourne.

Bendigo currently operates across Australia through the following brands:

* Bendigo Bank
* Rural Bank
* Adelaide Bank
* Delphi Bank
* Up
* Community Sector Banking
* Alliance Bank

The brand rationalisation is part of an effort to reduce operating expenses after deterioration in the company’s cost performance in the six months to the end of December.

While Baker has not yet publicly named the niche banking platforms on the chopping block, the company’s recent IT agenda provides clues as to the brands that appear to have a low priority within the group.

Although Bendigo was one of the first banking groups to roll out New Payments Platform functions to most of its customers, there are still tens of thousands of account holders with no access to PayID and Osko.

Customers transacting through the Adelaide Bank and Delphi Bank internet banking portals currently have no access to these services, even though Bendigo already offers internet and mobile access to instant payments via its six other brands.

The bank is also a tad opaque about when Adelaide and Delphi customers are likely to be hooked into the NPP.

“We can’t comment on speculation,” a bank spokesman said.

“As mentioned in our communications yesterday [Monday], we will be reducing the number of brands we go forward with and will provide updates in due course.

 “There has been no change to our original plan and timetable to rollout Osko across all brands.”

This might sound as if Bendigo is planning to add NPP and Osko functionality to services provided to Adelaide and Delphi customers.

However, there is no mention of the NPP and Osko on the websites of each of these brands.

More importantly, engaged Delphi and Adelaide customers are yet to receive any guidance on when the services are likely to be offered.

Canning the Adelaide brand in the South Australian consumer market might not be such a challenge.

Bendigo has been gradually reducing the brand’s physical presence in South Australia for many years – to the extent that all “Adelaide” branches have converted to “Bendigo” moniker.

Moreover, the group’s South Australian headquarters in Grenfell Street Adelaide has been decorated by only the Bendigo logo since 2014.

Delphi Bank, which has special ties with Greek and Cypriot communities across Australia might be a riskier brand to rationalise.

The prospect of customer losses is real given competition from other ADIs such as the Bank of Sydney that are aggressively targeting growth in these communities.

It is difficult to gauge whether Delphi has a growing balance sheet because the parent doesn’t disclose movements in its customer numbers or financial performance.

But there were indications last year that Bendigo was actively looking to reduce costs in the Delphi operation by “co-locating” some its branches with Bendigo’s flagship outlets.

Delphi currently has around 15 unique branches carrying its signage.

However, it might only be a matter of time before its small national network is buried within Bendigo’s cost-focused empire.