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Not your average bank, not your average banker

By Jack Hayes

“After 15 years I’ve still got customers coming back to me saying, ‘if it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t have bought this house’ or ‘if it weren’t for you, I would have never been able to do this’, that just makes my day.”

With more than a decade-and-a-half working at Bank of Queensland (BOQ) and more than 30 years working in the banking sector, it is no surprise BOQ Docklands owner manager Josephine Tan has built a loyal and long-lasting following of clients.

Starting her BOQ career on Exhibition St, Ms Tan said it was an easy decision to bring her business to Docklands. The majority of her client base and staff made the move with her and although the decision was not one without risks, given the chance again, she would do it in a heartbeat.

“When we first started 15 years ago, we were the new kids on the block. A lot of people associated BOQ with Queensland and understandably so,” Mr Tan said.

“Now with more than 200 branches nationwide, we remain the only bank with the model of owner managers. We’ve got a phone number that is direct; you don’t have to wait on a phone and speak to an automatic voice.”

“We are here to provide solutions and fix things – I think people are really drawn to that. It’s about developing a relationship and at the end of the day, that’s the biggest thing for us. People choose to bank with people.”

Ms Tan specialises in all aspects in banking, including home loans, finance, mortgages and commercial and business lending.

With COVID-19 changing the way we carry out our daily lives in almost every aspect, banking is no different, and although Ms Tan laments the times her clients weren’t able to visit her in person, there have been many positive changes to come from COVID-19.

“During the pandemic, the banking sector had to change quite a bit. People were under lockdown, they couldn’t come in. That is why BOQ has developed a few things to make remote banking easier,” Ms Tan said.

“Pocket Banker by BOQ is a fast and secure way for you to complete a BOQ lending application. It allows customers to carry out your usual lending application without need to come in branch and fill out paperwork.”

Pocket Banker by BOQ gives customers a direct line to a lender via audio or video calls and the ability to set reminders and to-do lists so you don’t forget important dates or tasks.

While making lending more accessible for customers regardless of their capacity for in-person visits, BOQ is also providing $3000 cash back for refinance of loans of at least $250,000 and $1000 cash back for new home buyers.

“If you’re renting a house today and you have the ability, you should be buying it instead. Rent is becoming more expensive than a mortgage repayment,” Ms Tan said.

“Our role in this is to help and educate people. We have helped businesses or homeowners differ their loans for six months when they lost tenants, then capitalise the differed amount into their loans, so they didn’t have to pay extra.”

“With a smaller bank, it is a lot easier. We don’t have the back log that you expect with larger banks. We are here, we are in the business and we own the business. That is the difference.”

As for Ms Tan’s vision for a future Docklands?

“We need a big-ticket item. I think we need a contemporary gallery on the NewQuay waterfront. Wouldn’t that be amazing?” •

For more information: facebook.com/boqdocklandsmelb

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