Australia-based Heritage Bank and People’s Choice Credit Union officially merged on 1 March 2023.

The merged entity brings together 720,000 members, 1,900 employees and more than A$23bn in assets, serviced by 95 branches.

And now the newly merged lender is hailing its new online values-based employee recognition programme called Shine. In the first month there were 1,214 entries – averaging almost 40 per day. Already, some 41.5% of employees have engaged with the programme, either by sending or receiving a recognition.

“A crucial, ongoing component of our merger is taking two businesses and forming one team with one positive culture,” said Peter Lock, CEO of Heritage and People’s Choice. “The cultural aspect of the merger was an absolute priority from the very beginning. That is why we developed Shine and it has exceeded all expectations.

“It’s providing an online community where people can reach across the country and pat their new colleagues on the back. This makes everyone involved feel good and starts building relationships. Importantly it’s not management driven. It’s person to person – and the feedback has been very, very encouraging.”

Merger aims to offer genuine alternative to listed banks

Shine encourages employees to recognise their colleagues for outstanding service and strengthening risk culture and behaviours. That is based on the organisation’s values of passion, integrity, trust, care, authenticity and respect. They can either send an ecard to a colleague, acknowledging and celebrating their actions. In addition, employees can nominate a colleague or team for a Shine Award, which recognises people who go above and beyond expectations. The programme also recognises length of service milestones and anniversaries.

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“You can go into the system and read what people are saying and it’s really uplifting,” Lock added.

The new entity will continue trading under the existing brand names of Heritage Bank and People’s Choice for an interim period of approximately 12 months.

After that, a fresh brand name will reflect its status as a genuine alternative to the listed banks for all Australians.