One of the things that our customers love about Bank Australia is that we’re 100% Australian owned and we keep all of our jobs in Australia. But what does that really mean and how does it set us apart?
1. We are customer owned
As a customer owned bank, we are 100% owned by our customers. This is different to most banks which are owned by a group of shareholders who have a financial stake in the organisation and are paid a return for their investment in the bank in the form of dividends.
Bank Australia on the other hand is owned by around 125 000 Australians who all have an equal share in Bank Australia. They cannot trade their shares or accumulate more than one share, so each customer is just as important as the next.
Being customer owned, our profits are reinvested in the bank to provide fairer fees, better interest rates, and the responsible products and services that our customers expect. Profits are also retained in the form of capital to ensure the bank’s ongoing strength.
To track our performance on terms of pricing, we commission CANSTAR, an independent financial services research group, to work out the benefit our customers receive by banking with us each year. They compared pricing on our deposits, loans and transactions at 30 June 2016 with the average pricing of the four major banks and valued our pricing benefit for 2016 at $33.2 million.
2. We keep all of our jobs in Australia
Like other financial institutions, we employ customer service staff to help customers with a range of queries such as lending, deposits or everyday banking. Some of these staff are based in our branches and speak to customers face-to-face, but many work in our National Lending Centre and National Call Centre. Both of these centres are based in regional Victoria – in the towns of Morwell (population ~ 13,000) and Moe (population ~ 15,000). In fact more than half of our employees live in regional towns. Our head office is based in Kew in Melbourne.
As Bank Australia grows, we are committed to keeping 100% of our jobs in Australia, which will mean increasing employment in regional areas.
3. Our investments are in Australia
All Bank Australia’s lending is done in Australia. We have a relatively simple business model which makes knowing where our money comes from and how it is used quite easy to track. The bulk of our business comes from lending money that customers deposit with us (e.g. in a term deposit or savings account) to other customers for personal use (e.g. to buy homes or cars).
We do also make some commercial loans, and we always ensure that these are in line with our Responsible Investment and Lending Policy. For example, we have made loans to community housing organisations, not for profit organisations and small businesses. This means we don’t invest in fossil fuel projects or other projects that may compromise the sustainability of Australia in the long-term.
4. We invest in local communities and the environment
The Bank Australia Impact Fund directs 4% of the bank’s after-tax profits each financial year to support projects that have positive social, environmental and educational outcomes in-line with the values and preferences of our customers.
Some of our current areas of support include:
Conservation – We’re supporting the Woodlands and Wetlands Trust to protect the Eastern Bettong, and we manage our own 954-hectare Conservation Reserve in Western Victoria that is home to the endangered South-Eastern Red tailed Black Cockatoo, the Golden Sun Moth, and the Growling Grass-frog.
Educational disadvantage – We’re supporting Carrum Downs Secondary College’s community café project, and Lara State School’s reconciliation project. We also support State Schools’ Relief to provide scientific calculators for young Australians who may otherwise not be able to participate in advanced maths and science subjects. Through Carers Victoria, we’re also offering scholarships to young carers in our community who will be able to access more educational and social opportunities through the scholarship funding.
Homelessness – Our partnership with The Big Issue is supporting homeless, disadvantaged and marginalised Australians to help themselves by earning an income through selling the magazine.
Renewable energy – We’re supporting the Alternative Technology Association to help Australians learn about living a more sustainable life and funding organisations like Bendigo Sustainability Group to fit local buildings with solar panels.
Bank Australia continues to look for ways that we can support the Australian community in meaningful ways. In particular we are looking at how to best support issues our customers recently highlighted in our 2016 customer values survey.
Sign up to our e-news for updates on our progress.