A LEADING Queensland banker believes the financial sector could become the next boom industry in regional cities.
Toowoomba-based Heritage Bank CEO Peter Lock said Queensland's banking sector was poised to take off - and regional areas could be the big beneficiaries.
Although none of Australia's five biggest banks is based in Queensland, four of the nation's banking "challengers" are - Suncorp, Bank of Queensland, Credit Union Australia and Heritage Bank.
At a Queensland Economic Development Forum in Brisbane, Mr Lock said the state's financial sector was set to overtake manufacturing and transport in coming years.
He said regionally based banks and credit unions were well positioned to take advantage of this growth.
"We do have a unique position in Queensland, we can position ourselves as the financial challenger bank state," he said.
"The potential flow-on effects for regional areas are huge."
Mr Lock said 40% of Queensland's financial sector jobs were already based in regional areas and growing the sector would only enhance that.
He pointed to banks such as The Capricornian, Cairns Penny, Warwick Credit Union as well as Heritage as examples of thriving regional Queensland banks.
But Mr Lock said regional cities faced challenges in developing the industry. He said although Toowoomba was able to attract young professionals it struggled to bring in senior level professionals.
He suggested government issued relocation allowances or regionally focused changes to stamp duty could encourage people to move from metropolitan areas into regional Queensland.