Newcastle Permanent and Greater Bank merger at center of institute forum

The proposed merger of the region’s two largest local financial institutions will take center stage at this week’s Newcastle Institute public forum.

If the unification between Newcastle Permanent and Greater Bank goes ahead, as planned, it will be one of the biggest corporate mergers in Australian history.

The combined entity will have total assets of $20 billion and a global customer base of approximately 600,000 people.

The conference, at Souths Merewether on Wednesday September 21, is expected to discuss the pros and cons of the merger for the respective patrons and the Hunter, according to institute spokesperson Dr Ross Kerridge.

“Given that many local people do banking with one organization or the other, this is an important debate to have,” he said.

“Given that both are mutuals or customer-owned, they need substantial member approval as well as approval from regulators.

“During the forum, the presidents of Newcastle Permanent (Jeff Eather) and Greater Bank (Wayne Russell) will present the reasons for the merger.

“They believe this will allow them to continue to challenge the big banks, drive growth, enable greater contribution to the regional economy and provide more career opportunities for local people.”

Before that, Associate Professor Doowon Lee, from the School of Finance at the University of Sydney, will offer an independent perspective on the changes taking place in the Australian financial services industry.

“Newcastle Permanent and Greater Bank are two of Newcastle’s largest and most successful businesses and preferred alternatives to big banks,” said Dr Kerridge.

“In addition to being the institutions of reference for many people, they are financially solid and important employers for the inhabitants.

“Beyond that, they are major contributors to regional identity and support countless clubs and causes through their charitable foundations.

“The forum will give customers information on what the merger will mean for them, as well as for the region, and help them determine how they want to vote.

“There will also be plenty of time for questions from the public.

“Our forum is independent and is not funded by Newcastle Permanent or Greater Bank.”

The Newcastle Institute is a non-profit, community-based organization which aims to support public debate on key policy issues facing hunters and Australia.

And, it meets every month.

Newcastle Institute members can attend Wednesday’s rally for free, while admission is $10 for non-members.

The forum is streamed live for free on the Newcastle Institute’s Facebook page and uploaded to its website the day after the event.

For more information and to become a member, visit

Newcastle Institute Public Forum: Greater Bank and Newcastle Permanent Merger – A Greater Future Together

  • WHEN: Wednesday, September 21
  • WHERE: South Merewether
  • TIME: 6-7:30 p.m.
  • COST: Free for Newcastle Institute members and $10 for guests. No need to book

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Melvin B. Baillie