I am very pleased to present my annual Board perspective for the Annual Review. It’s been yet again another successful year for Bank First despite the deepening shadow of the Covid pandemic. You’ll discover the financial metrics that demonstrate this progress as you read through these documents and I encourage you to do so.
We met all of our targets despite significant headwinds such as continuing record low interest rates and fierce competition from bigger banks. For many days our beautiful main branch in Camberwell was almost deserted except for the contact centre. That challenge we also rose to - to successfully run our bank from the actual homes of staff points to the options for future ways of working that will emanate from this experience.
Experience only brings value when we reflect on it and learn from it.
What have we learnt this year?
It’s been affirmed for us that our stated purpose to help our people realise their financial dreams is still a guiding star. We’ve learnt to give up old ways of working without losing our focus on Member service and creating benefits for our Members. In fact, we’ve agreed as an organisation that we will create increased value for Members through both service and product. We need each other; invested in you has never seemed more resonant as a cut-through message.
What has prevailed, and this is so heartening, is your satisfaction with us. Formal surveys, as well as anecdotal evidence, show you have faith in us as your preferred bank.
It’s very important to us that we are a constant and reliable presence in the lives of many of you and we want to strengthen those relationships. Rudyard Kipling wrote: The strength of the wolf is in the pack and the strength of the pack is in the wolf. The uncertainty of our society as illuminated by a worldwide pandemic reminds us of the need for social and business relationships where the players are governed by respect and compassion. Caring is what we are about but, of course, to be competitive in the financial arena we must also be efficient, agile and smart.
You’ll remember that we farewelled William Wolke as CEO in October last year and welcomed Michelle Bagnall. Michelle has already proven to be an excellent cultural match for us and has led us through a stringent process of reflection, evaluation and strategy readjustment as part of a revamped operating model. The Board, as well as staff and third parties, have participated in this program and your Directors have relished opportunities to celebrate our legacy and co-imagine our future.
Bank First is unashamedly true to its values and we have unwavering belief in our people, in our Members – many of whom are involved in the education and health sectors – who help build community and who have stood tall to face those significant challenges already mentioned. Our Relationship Officers have missed their face to face contact with schools and health centres but willingly retrained when their services were needed for other business units. Directors missed the chance to present funds to innovative school personnel who won awards through our Teaching Initiatives Program.
We’ve all missed something but Bank First has remained steadfast.
We are proud of our dedication and determination to serve you and I thank all staff and Directors who make this possible.
Board of Directors
Top Row - Left to Right: Bernie Lloyd (Chair), Judy Crowe, Jo Dawson, Mark Devadason
Bottom Row - Left to Right: Michael Monester, Simon Terry, Graeme Willis, Emily McGrath (Company Secretary)