(The following was released by the rating agency)
MELBOURNE (Standard & Poor‘s) Nov. 7, 2012--In a new report published today, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services analyses the ability of Australia’s three rated regional banks-- Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Ltd., Bank of Queensland Ltd., and Suncorp-Metway Ltd.--to remain competitive in a tough banking environment.
The report discusses how the regional banks’ historically better-customer-service record compared to the major banks’ is a factor that still resonates with customer sets in the banking market. However, in Standard & Poor’s opinion, good customer service alone will not win new business, nor will it be sufficient in itself to support the strongest of business profiles. As we see it, the regional banks have needed to balance their desire to maintain high customer service levels while managing costs, particularly with respect to management of branch and staff numbers. Also, the impact of technology on financial product and service distribution has diluted this advantage compared with that enjoyed in the past.
The report examines four business-strategy challenges facing the regional banks:
-- Developing a business franchise profile that resonates with a target customer set;
-- Remaining competitive on price;
-- Matching the major banks’ capability in the products and sectors in which they compete head-on; and
-- Maintaining a customer-service advantage.
The report, "Business Challenges Faced By Australia's Regional Banks Remain A Major Ratings Constraint" is available to subscribers of RatingsDirect via "www.globalcreditportal.com ". Members of the media are able to contact Richard Noonan for a copy.
-- Business Challenges Faced By Australia’s Regional Banks Remain A Major Ratings Constraint, published Nov. 7, 2012