When John Horosko started managing the Campbelltown branch of Bank of Queensland 11 years ago, he was competing with four banking juggernauts – NAB, ANZ, Westpac and St. George. Now, BOQ is the only bank left on Queen Street. But how did an independent franchise outlive the big banks?

Mr Horosko’s career in banking started back in 1979. He worked for Westpac in various roles for 27 years until BOQ approached him in 2012 asking if he would be interested in franchising his own bank in Campbelltown.

By then, he was sick and tired of feeling as though he was endlessly climbing the corporate ladder, so immediately accepted the offer and started his journey on Queen Street.

Mr Horosko signed on as a franchisee of BOQ, meaning he owned all trading rights within his franchise of the company. This has given him the license to make decisions he would not otherwise have had the authority to make over the years.

He said, “BOQ is the only bank in Australia that actually franchises, so I am actually blessed to have such a large franchisor backing me… I think I’m pretty privileged.”

There is one big secret to his success that has always set him and BOQ apart on Queen Street, and that is the value of community.

“It comes down to personal service, and it’s all about relationships,” he said.

Mr Horosko is quite reserved but he radiates a calm and sure confidence in himself, never mincing his words. His self-assured, kind personality would certainly make you feel as though you were in safe hands if you came into BOQ for financial advice or help.

He also comes across as incredibly humble in the face of all he has achieved. Rather than attributing the franchise’s success to himself and his own hard work (after all, managing a bank for almost 12 years is no small feat), he seems to prefer to emphasise the role of others in helping the bank succeed.

When asked how he has achieved such success, Mr Horosko says it is the community on Queen Street as well as his employees that make BOQ Campbelltown such a unique bank.

Everything about Mr Horosko’s branch revolves around community. Take Karen, for example, who is the longest-serving employee at the branch and has been with the company for a total of 18 years, or John’s eldest son, Chris, who has worked alongside him for 10 years.

Mr Horosko prides himself on the fact that all of his employees are long-term, because he has worked hard to create a supportive and comfortable work environment.

He also supports a number of different clubs in the area and is an active sponsor of the Chamber of Commerce. John spends a lot of his time maintaining strong relationships with owners of small businesses in Campbelltown who make up a significant portion of his clientele, partly because of how well he understands the specific needs of small businesses.

Mr Horosko said, “Our catchphrase used to be, ‘We know small business because we are one.”

When it comes to the approach he takes to his manager/franchisee role, his priority is giving back to the community.

Mr Horosko’s family go above and beyond in using their closeness to the community as a chance for local outreach. Earlier this month, his two grandsons made a donation of books and toys to Lifeline Macarthur and Western Sydney.

Mr Horosko has a unique sense of humour that is both stoic and self-deprecating at once. While he comes across as self-assured, his quick-wittedness also shows a level of humility and an ability not to take himself too seriously, which are both really important qualities in a leader.

He said, “The plan is to stay on for another seven years as manager and franchisee… you know, unless the company decides to get rid of me, you never know what could happen.”

As for the branch’s future direction on Queen Street, Mr Horosko is confident that the relationships and reputation he has worked to build for the branch over the past 11 years will help them stay the course.

“Queen Street supported me, I want to continue to support Queen Street,” he said.

–   Emily Kaine