Founded in 1874, as the Brisbane Permanent Benefit Building and Investment Society, Queensland’s first permanent building society, the Bank of Queensland Ltd, now BOQ, has undergone an evolutionary transition from a Brisbane based and focused building society to its national standing today.
Milestones include receiving a trading bank licence in 1942, changing its name to the Bank of Queensland Ltd in 1970, then listing on the Australian Stock Exchange as a publicly traded company in 1971.
Upon celebrating its 110th anniversary, Allan Murrell, former General Manager of the bank, aptly described the complex BOQ history – “ninety seven years as a bank and before that thirteen years as a building society. From a building society, converted to a savings bank, it evolved into a trading bank and after ninety — six years as a society then a unit bank, it developed into a regional bank with 37 branches and full time agencies. During the course of that 110 years it absorbed a building society and two banks and it established two finance companies. Continuing its course as a trading bank, it created to coincide with its centenary a second building society and as it approached its 110th anniversary a second trading bank.”
Over its long history, BOQ has successfully weathered times of economic adversity including surviving the 1893 Australian banking crisis when many banks failed, remaining profitable during the two world wars and successfully navigating the 1931 depression and the Global Financial Crisis.
The bank’s most significant success has, however, occurred from the 1980’s onwards as a result of a branch expansion both within and outside Queensland, the introduction of the franchise model for branch owner-managers and the rapid growth of revenue generating activities under more expansionary leadership. During this time, BOQ successfully repelled threats of takeover or merger, the most serious of which would have resulted in the merger of the bank and the then Metway Bank in which the Queensland Government held a major stake.
The evolution of BOQ continues today with approximately 40% of its business generated from outside of Queensland. Its market capitalisation of $100 million less than two decades ago now exceeds $3 billion, underpinned by consistently strong profit performance and, together with franchisees, employs over 2,500 people in its business. In so many ways the BOQ journey is a close reflection of the growth and development of the Queensland economy.