Bank Australia has a Financial Inclusion Action Plan as part of a national FIAP program.
Bank Australia joined a group of 11 pioneering organisations who will lead the way on developing plans that will encourage a more financially inclusive society. The FIAP program is led by Good Shepherd Microfinance in collaboration with the Centre for Social Impact, and EY, with funding from the Australian Government.
As a customer owned bank we are committed to responding to issues of importance to our customers; and, in a recent survey, 69% of customers told us that tackling financial exclusion of marginalised people was important to them.
Conservatively, three million Australians are financially excluded, as a result they are more likely to face financial hardship, poverty and have poorer economic, social and health outcomes.
Our plan is focused on improving financial resilience in Australian society addressing the needs of people and communities vulnerable to financial exclusion. It covers a range of financial inclusion aspects such as reducing family violence and its impacts. Within our plan we will continue following our responsible approach to banking, including only lending to people who have the ability to repay, and providing access to products and services appropriate to our customers’ needs.
Bank Australia under its previous name, bankmecu, merged with Fitzroy and Carlton Community Credit Co-op in 2013.
Prior to the merger, the Fitzroy and Carlton Community Credit Co-op had served the financially excluded people in the local community for 36 years having grown out of a Brotherhood of St Laurence project in 1977, which aimed to provide savings and loan services for people on low incomes.
The merger allowed the customers of the Co-op to gain access to more services and products and for the staff to join a larger institution where they could pass on their knowledge about serving this local community and the broader issue of financial inclusion.
When the doors opened as bankmecu, customers were also able to access small loans through a community finance referral program. This partnership with Foresters Community Finance arranges small loans to customers who need access to personal finance but who may not qualify for products such as standard credit cards or personal loans.