Heritage People's Choice

Delivering cohesion and clarity through merger integration

Financial Services
  • Program Management
  • Transformation

Heritage People’s Choice is now Australia’s largest member-owned banking organisation following the merger in early 2023 of Queensland-based Heritage Bank and South Australia’s People’s Choice Credit Union.  Escient has partnered with People’s Choice Credit Union over several years, bringing deep experience, expertise and understanding of the organisation and the sector to the merger program.

The challenge

Working in a highly regulated industry and with a complex transaction, Escient was engaged to drive three streams of work, within a broader program of work, to support the effective merger of the two entities. To achieve an effective legal merger, prudential requirements were to be clarified, defined and met from a range of regulatory bodies including the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). The requirements were to be met by the announced merger date hence involving a strong, broad and deep level of collaboration across all areas of the two organisations to achieve the objectives in a tight, compressed timeframe.

The approach

Escient worked with the team in an initial exploratory phase to define the critical deliverables, project plans, budgets and resourcing, and understand interdependencies across each stream of work within the program. With effective governance frameworks in place, each stream was run as individual programs of work in parallel to and with strong collaboration with other streams, working through interdependencies, common goals, risk mitigations and issue resolution.

Key to delivery success was the effectiveness of business owners and executive sponsors who were highly involved in ensuring outcomes were achieved, deliverables approved and adequate escalation paths were available to navigate any challenges encountered.

The outcome

Successfully achieved prudential compliance and readiness to commence operations on budget and by the target date. A post go-live hyper care period for the program ensured any emerging issues were identified and mitigated, resulting in a highly effective merger integration program.

Deliverables included:
  • Strategy – establishing a corporate scorecard, no-regrets system decision framework, policy publication, target operating model
  • Risk – establishing appropriate policies, frameworks, practices and procedures to meet APRA’s requirements relating to an appropriate risk culture and management, credit risk, balance sheet risk, operational risk and information security.
  • Business Operations – including facilities, remediation, banking operations, products, payment and lending operations, and super fund migration into the merged entity.

Escient’s ability to bring structure and clarity to the many complex parts of our program helped drive the successful merger. They immersed themselves in our teams, engaging multiple streams of work to deliver with confidence. 

Michael Tons, Chief Merger Transition Officer
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