Our Members build better communities, and we’re proud to be the bank that puts them first.
For over four decades we’ve helped our Members with their banking needs; from managing their money and saving for a rainy day, right through to purchasing their first home and planning for retirement.
With a clear purpose and strong understanding of our Members, we set priorities and focussed resources to provide better products and services for you, with the following four strategic principles laying the foundation for our future.Our 4 strategic principles
- Championing a Better Banking Experience
- Improving our Operating Model
- Investing in our People
- Reinforcing our Risk & Compliance foundations
Some of our key highlights for the 2020-21 financial year include:
- 107,662 customers
- $395 million FUA*
- +73 advocacy (NPS**)
- 166,859 Members serviced
- $29,000 towards teaching initiatives
- 685 Financial Planning appointments
- $629 million home loan settlements.
*Funds under Advice
** Net promoter score
As a customer-owned bank, we exist to financially empower our Members. It’s this purpose that directs our sound financial management. This ensures that the needs of both borrowers and depositors are taken into account when developing our pricing model.
Growth has continued to be strong, with total assets increasing by 11.55% and total equity by 5.57%. We’re well-positioned for continued growth with a capital adequacy ratio of 15.72%.
Profit after income tax of $11.9m was achieved and reinvested back into the organisation to enable us to continue to create value for our Members and the wider education and healthcare community.
Despite uncertain socioeconomic conditions, the quality of our lending book continued to be sound. The 2020-21 financial year was also a record-breaking year with extremely high loan growth (8.4%) and the highest Funds Under Advice ($395m) since the bank was founded in 1972.
Our steadfast financial approach and strong results continue to put us in a great position to provide real value to our Members.
2020-2021 key financial results
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic 2020-21, was a year with many challenges. Our healthcare workers fought tirelessly to keep us safe and our educators went above and beyond to make remote learning effective and engaging for our future generation.
We’re proud to support our Members and the people who care with their finances and assist them in times of need.
Understanding the uncertainty Members were experiencing, we shifted our focus to providing Members with frequent information and support during the challenges faced by COVID-19 and natural disasters including the Victorian and NSW storms and floods. Financial support packages were available for Members in need, including interest free loans.
Our Member Engagement model and physical environment was adapted so that we could safely continue to provide caring, personal service during the pandemic.
Easy, personal and caring service is the mantra of our frontline team and the key ingredients to the better banking experience at Bank First.
Our Member Engagement team do not have time limits on their calls, as our Members’ needs are at the heart of all their interactions. Our Relationship Officers continue to build strong relationships with our Members and the education and healthcare communities, to provide a highly personalised, mobile banking experience.
Our Financial Planners pride themselves on understanding our Member’s needs and always applying trust and transparency to their approach. Online consultations were available during lockdown with the aim of supporting our Members wherever possible. An advocacy score of 100% was achieved and is a testament to their dedication and passion for helping our Members.
Supporting home buyers
We continue to support our Members in pursuit of the ‘great Australian dream’ of owning their own home. The bank also helped 10,000 Members buy a home sooner through the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme.
How we enhanced Member experience
- Personalisation of our website content to better meet our visitor’s needs.
- A review of the bank’s fees to ensure they are as fair and equitable as possible. This included introducing fee-free transactional banking for all Members.
- In peak times our team members were redeployed to Member Engagement teams to respond to the large increase in enquiries, while our App and Internet
- Banking assisted with urgent banking needs.
- Launched Comprehensive Credit Reporting which enables us to make better-informed credit decisions and shortens turnaround times for Members requesting credit.
- A range of ‘1%ers’ were improved by the Bank First.
- ‘Pain Points Group’ including, transforming the PDF forms on our website so that they are interactive and easier to complete online.
The Bank First Community Fund was established to imbue support and care when partnering with strategic organisations that build the healthcare and education communities. We’re proud to support those who are not only the cornerstones of our community, but are supporting everyone with their hard work and dedication as we continue to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through the Bank First Community Fund, financial support is provided to education and healthcare communities, including a range of initiatives, partnerships and sponsorships.
Teaching Initiatives Program
Bank First’s Teaching Initiatives Program (TIP) has been supporting new and innovative teaching ideas at the grassroots of education since 1993. Seventeen grants were awarded to schools and preschools in 2021 for a range of initiatives including a wetlands discovery and sustainability project, a garden kitchen and creation of a ‘de-stress’ zone to foster improved student learning.
iPads for non-verbal children
Partnering with State Schools’ Relief and Gandel Philanthropy, we helped provide 350 iPads for non-verbal children across Victoria to assist with their learning and development.
Key events and sponsorships
- Mercy Health Breastmilk Bank 10 year anniversary.
- Principals’ Association of Specialist Schools Virtual Annual Awards.
- Monash University Scholarship and Awards.
- Australian College of Nursing Practitioners National Conference.
- Victorian Association of State Secondary Principals State Leadership Seminar & AGM.
- Aged & Community Services Australia Virtual Conference.
- Teacher’s Learning Network Conference.
- Education Summit – Additional Needs Virtual Symposium + Leadership for Focussed Schools.Business Managers Victoria Leadership Conference.
We proudly partnered with Pinchapoo, a charity fighting hygiene poverty. With our support, over 8500 hygiene packs were developed as part of Pinchapoo’s Emergency Department Hospital program, providing culturally appropriate and gender-inclusive products for patients in need.
Our people were also very happy to be given the opportunity to volunteer their time and help build hygiene packs at the Pinchapoo warehouse.
Thanking our nurses
A delivery of 40 fresh fruit and veg boxes were delivered to hardworking nurses at Mercy Hospital for Women and Werribee Mercy Hospital to celebrate International Nurses Day.
We donated $10 from each box to The One Box, one of our charity partners, who provide Australian families in need with a free weekly box of fresh fruit, vegetables, milk and bread over the full school year.
Supporting our environment
As a socially responsible organisation, we act with the environment and sustainability in mind. Discounted interest rates are offered for environmentally friendly car loans and personal loans and our office and branches are fitted with environmentally friendly products.
Across the year, new initiatives were implemented including providing eStatements to anyone over the age of 12 and moving communications online wherever possible, resulting in less paper usage.
“The partnership between Bank First and the Victorian Association of State Secondary Principals
(VASSP) is based on shared values and has perhaps never been more important, or more appreciated. In a time of unprecedented challenge for principals and their school communities, Bank First has stood steadfast in support of all educators.”
Our people continue to lead the way when it comes to embodying our culture and values. Our genuine connection with our Members, appreciation of our educators and healthcare workers, and support of each other as a team shines through every day.
Supporting our people during the COVID-19 pandemic was a top priority, with initiatives to build ongoing connections, support mental health and foster wellbeing implemented. A hybrid/balanced approach to our working model has continued to provide ongoing flexibility for our people.
A culture of open communication, understanding and flexibility continued to grow as our people banded together to support each other and our Members. To help our people show their support of our communities, one day of paid community service leave can be taken each year as part of our Employee Benefits package.
With many of the Bank First team working from home, team building and wellness practices became a virtual affair. ‘Open Air’ sessions ran fortnightly, providing an opportunity for the entire Bank First team to connect online, ask questions and have a laugh. Healthy competition across teams was evident with online ‘beat the boss’ trivia games and ‘step challenges’ to encourage physical and mental wellbeing.
Development and capability
Ongoing professional and personal development was championed across the bank, through both formal training and informal opportunities such as our Leader Network Hubs.
A new performance management system was introduced and integrated with our culture and engagement surveys.
Our Learning, Emerging and Progressing (LEAP) program provided development and mentoring opportunities. A favourite program amongst our people, LEAP covers topics such as the Enneagram, resilience and developing your leadership brand while fostering relationships across the bank.
Looking to the future
Our future way of working is being co-designed by our people, taking into account their views on improving the physical office environment, encouraging greater teamwork across the bank, and supporting the hybrid working model.
Engagement with our people regarding how Bank First can support their needs during the pandemic and beyond has been an ongoing conversation.