Bank Australia started in 1957 as the CSIRO Co-operative Credit Society and have grown and evolved, joining together 72 credit unions and co-operatives to become Australia’s first customer-owned bank. We changed our name to Bank Australia in 2015. Bank Australia are owned by their customers, which means they don’t answer to shareholders. Bank Australia believe in responsible banking. Their profits are returned to customers through better rates and fees and their investments are used to create positive social and environmental change.
Gippslandia: Why is Gippsland a great place to do business?
We’ve been doing business in Gippsland for many years and it’s always been a community-focussed region. We have a strong connection to the region and we want to offer ongoing opportunities for people to live and work in their local communities. We have three branches in the region (Moe, Morwell and Traralgon) and 100+ employees at our Customer Contact Centre in Moe.
What’s one thing about your business that you wish others understood better?
That your choice of a bank can have a huge impact on the world. This is because the money you put in your account is used by banks to make loans and investments. The types of loans and investments banks make can go to industries that do good (like renewable energy projects) or those that do harm (like tobacco and gambling). So where your money ultimately goes shapes the world we all live in.
At Bank Australia, we say our money is ‘clean’ because it is never loaned to industries (eg fossil fuels, nuclear weapons, gambling, tobacco, live animal export) that do harm. Instead, as a customer-owned bank, we believe it’s important to use our customers’ money in responsible ways, creating a positive impact for people, their communities and the planet.
Why do you support Gippslandia?
Our values align closely with Gippslandia’s; particularly in promoting innovation, sharing stories and the focus on positive change.
Why is it important to your business to support local initiatives?
As a customer-owned bank, we listen to our customers and focus on the issues they care about. And our customers tell us they want us to invest in local issues. This is why we run initiatives like our Impact Fund and Conservation Reserve.
What do you love about being based in Gippsland?
We love our legacy link to the region – the State Electricity Commission Credit Union, founded in Gippsland, was one of the 72 credit unions to merge over the years to ultimately form Bank Australia. We want to provide employment opportunities in growing industries, like responsible banking, to support Gippsland to continue evolving.
What does a successful and supportive community look like to Bank Australia?
A successful community is one that centres mutual prosperity and puts people before profits.