A successful organisation must have its eye on the future and your bank, Bank First, is no exception. Over the past few years we have slowly but surely transformed ourselves into what you see today. A customer owned bank with a sustainable future yet committed to honouring its significant legacy as a trusted financial service provider with a commitment to education. The past year has seen strategic planning enacted into a reality which includes a name change, a rebrand, and state of the art service offerings as part of the long-term value proposition to enable “... people who build community realise their dreams”.
Bank First is very well served by a committed and loyal executive leadership team, a group of talented and enthusiastic directors and hard-working, conscientious staff. Human needs are relatively simple: we need to be seen and we need to be heard and customer feedback reveals that this is one of the most attractive characteristics of our service to the community. We have won the usual slew of awards via CANSTAR and Mozo this year but it is actually customer satisfaction which gives us the greatest pleasure. Our decisions are always informed by what direct benefits they deliver to our customers. The Royal Commission into the financial services industry has highlighted what happens when organisations lose sight of their own people as they initiate activity to grow shareholder profits. We do not serve two masters - we are only about customer advantage hence our mantra “invested in you”.
Another basic human need is for our lives to have meaning and for us to understand the purpose of what we do. As well as financially empowering our customers we contribute to the wider education community annually as you well know. Apart from business partnerships with the key players in the Victorian education system and beyond, we offer myriad sponsorships and awards. It is a continuing source of joy to me and my fellow directors to visit learning communities who have won financial support to create teaching initiatives, and through this we gain understanding of how that funding will improve student experiences.
Scholarships to aspirant leaders to undertake research projects are always gratefully received as well as an inspiring insight into the calibre and forward thinking of young professionals. Such programs will only broaden as our impact on similar vocational groups grows and strengthens.
I take this opportunity to congratulate, thank and farewell Professor Karen Starr who retires from the Board after 12 years of service. Karen’s contribution to our governance growth and her educational experience have proven extremely valuable to us.
I recommend that you study the details of our annual financial performance. I thank you for your support and continued belief in Bank First. I commend all staff, especially William Wolke and his executive team, and my fellow Directors, and congratulate everyone who has played a role in ensuring our successful transition to Bank First, and look forward to continuing to celebrate our success.