A letter to Gail Kelly and Westpac
I'm a bit peeved. You see, you've announced that you're going to take my bank away and I'm unhappy about not just the decision but the justifications for it.
I've read the news releases and information and I'd like to correct a couple of things you said about me.
As a customer, I am really happy with St George. I didn't say I wanted a more local "Victorian" focused bank. Not sure which customers you did ask but I sure wasn't one of them.
When I moved back to Australia after years of living overseas, I looked around at all the banks and St George and the friendly dragon appealed for quite a few reasons. And I have to say, that from that first day I decided (key words there – I decided) to join St George Bank I've been happy with my choice.
Now you are telling me that you know better, that I'm not really happy, that St George isn't what I want. It seems what I want is the Bank of Melbourne. How great it must be to be able to divine things people don't even know themselves.
But, here's the problem with that. I trust St George, and I know what they stand for. I have a relationship with that friendly dragon. Bank of Melbourne can try and sweet talk me with promises and tell me that they will respect me and deliver the "friendly service and innovation that St.George is renowned for", but I don't believe them, because it's founded on a lie. The lie is that this is what I wanted.
Can we at least be honest here and acknowledge that what I wanted doesn't come into this. It is what you and the corporation Westpac wanted.
The last point I would like to make (and while I may not know much about banks, on this topic I know a thing or two) is that brands are not interchangeable. They are the result of the promises you KEEP. You can't just one day decide to pick up one brand and drop it down into a different organisation and magically all the attributes of one will transfer to the other. It just doesn't work that way. Ever.
So with all due respect, please don't insult me by trying to tell me that you care about me as a customer and this is all in my best interests, that you are giving the marketplace more choice (that just doesn't wash when one bank is just replacing another). That this is what I wanted.
I think I'll be taking my business to a bank that keeps it's promises (or at the very least doesn't sell me out when it suits them).
The soon to be former customer of the soon to be former St George Bank.
Michel Hogan is a Brand Advocate. Through her work with Brandology here in Australia and in the United States, she helps organisations recognise who they are and align that with what they do and say, to build more authentic and sustainable brands. She also publishes the Brand thought leadership blog - Brand Alignment. is a Brand Advocate. Through her work with Brandology here in Australia and in the United States, she helps organisations recognise who they are and align that with what they do and say, to build more authentic and sustainable brands. She also publishes the Brand thought leadership blog - Brand Alignment.