Money's 2021 Customer-Owned Institution of the Year
CUSTOMER-OWNED INSTITUTION OF THE YEAR: GREATER BANK
Our winner in this segment, Greater Bank, performed strongly this year in the money minder, credit card and business banking areas.
It was above average in home lending and personal lending and recently launched its Owe to Own product with a one-year fixed interest as low as 1.69%pa (comparison rate of 3.49%pa).
"As a customer-owned bank, we don't have shareholders, which means our profits are reinvested into our business to provide better value products and services and develop our technological platforms to ensure we continue to service our customers well into the future and to foster and support the communities in which we operate," says Matt Hingston, Greater Bank's head of marketing.
"The pandemic presented many of our customers with incredible financial challenges. For some, it was the first time they had ever experienced any sort of hardship. During that time, it was critically important that we continued to support them, which we did by providing several hardship arrangements.
"We wanted our customers to know that when times are tough, we have their back and will get them through it, and when the good times return we will continue to prosper together.
"While much of that financial pressure has eased for customers across our areas of operation, we continue to work with and provide support to those who experience hardship through any life event."
Greater Bank was founded in 1924 from the Newcastle and Hunter River Public Service Starr-Bowkett Building Co-op as a response to economic depression, which put homeownership outside the reach of many people.
In 1945, the co-op became the Greater Newcastle Co-operative Permanent Building and Investment Society, and as it expanded beyond Newcastle its name changed to Greater Building Society and then Greater Bank. It is still a mutual owned by customers.
Greater Bank is investing in technology and developing capabilities to introduce new products and services.
"We are also investing heavily in the digital space. Customers' needs and expectations today and into the future are being driven by advancements in technology and we want to ensure we stay ahead of that," says Hingston.
"Over the last five years we have seen a significant increase in the number of customers using our mobile app to conduct much of their banking. Currently we have nearly 60% of customers using the app each month.
"The advancements in digital wallets are also having a great influence on how people interact with their bank."
Greater Bank edged out Bank Australia and Bank First to secure pole position.
Bank Australia is strong in personal lending and credit cards. It has been carbon neutral since 2011 and is known for its responsible banking. Bank First's strength was in home lending, with mortgages starting at 2.88%pa.
WHY THEY WON
Very strong in money minder, credit cards and business banking.
Owe to Own with low 1-year fixed interest rate of 1.69%.
1. Greater Bank
2. Bank Australia
3. Bank First
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