Reputation -

pre-eminent customer-owned bank brand

Goal two: leadership in customer-owned bank performance.

Trustworthy

bankmecu will maximise its brand value, marketplace positioning, employee and other stakeholder engagement.

bankmecu will develop its reputation as a thought leader in responsible banking and cooperative enterprise.

bankmecu will respect the different approaches taken by investor-owned and customer-owned banks and assist consumers to make informed decisions about banking.

Leadership

bankmecu has an ambition that its brand will represent leadership in responsible banking performance. bankmecu invests its customers money in ways which provide both an economic return as well as positive social, environmental and good governance outcomes. By adopting a more responsible approach to banking, shareholder value increases and the Company’s long term viability is enhanced. As the increased regulatory pressure on financial institutions around the world demonstrates, the global financial crisis resulted from a failure of responsibility amongst many businesses.

Again this year, bankmecu was recognised for its leadership in sustainable banking and was invited to present at a range of industry and community forums. These events provide opportunities for bankmecu to champion sustainable development and share information on its performance.

In addition, bankmecu hosted a number of community forums to engage with stakeholders, champion responsible banking  and to provide the opportunity for groups to come together to identify and address identified key issues within society. Forums hosted in 2011 and 2012 included:

  • a group of businesses, government organisations and NGO’s to discuss the issue of appropriate housing for older people living in regional Victoria;
  • a roundtable workshop in Canberra bringing together a range of stakeholders from business and the community sector to discuss the potential opportunity to establish a social enterprise business;
  • a CEO’s luncheon with several community-based organisations in Bendigo;
  • a ‘key community leaders’ stakeholder event in Melbourne. This event was an opportunity to launch bankmecu’s relationship with Foresters Community Finance (FCF) and to present State School Relief with a cheque of $40,000;
  • a function in Brisbane in collaboration with Foresters Community Finance for senior representatives of existing and prospective community sector customers.

bankmecu representatives also attended forums throughout the year to support and gain insights from other best-practice organisations and to assist in identifying emerging trends and opportunities for more sustainable development.

International Year of the Cooperatives

bankmecu is a customer-owned bank and part of an international cooperative movement.

Cooperatives around the world make a significant contribution to socio-economic development, particularly on poverty reduction, employment generation and social integration. The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives (IYC) in recognition of this.

The international cooperative movement makes a significant contribution to economic and social wellbeing:

  • Cooperatives have more than one billion members around the world.
  • Cooperatives provide over 100 million jobs around the world, 20 per cent more than multinational enterprises.
  • The top 300 cooperatives in the world have an annual turnover of around $US1.6 trillion, equivalent to the GDP of the world’s ninth-largest economy.
  • The United Nations estimated in 1994 that the livelihood of nearly 3 billion people, or half of the world’s population at that time, were made secure by cooperative enterprise.
  • Cooperative financial institutions did not produce any of the ‘toxic’ paper that destabilized the global economy in 2007/08.
  • In the economic downturn the value of cooperative shares remained stable and most cooperatives experienced modest growth.
  • During the GFC cooperative banks and credit unions did not require bailouts, experienced modest to medium growth and continued to extend credit to their members including businesses.

Source: http://usa2012.coop/about-co-ops/cooperatives-around-world

bankmecu is participating in IYC activities to promote the role of cooperatives in Australia. At the same time this effort helps generate brand awareness and assist consumers make informed decisions about their banking.

For more information about IYC 2012, visit http://social.un.org/coopsyear/index.html

Mutual Banking Code of Practice

bankmecu is a signatory to and complies with the Mutual Banking Code of Practice which was launched on 1 July 2009. The Mutual Banking Code of Practice defines how customer-owned banks, credit unions and mutual building societies will deliver on their pledge to always put customers first.

The Code contains 10 promises for bankmecu to adhere to:

  1. We will be fair and ethical in our dealings with you.
  2. We will focus on our customers.
  3. We will give you clear information about our products and services.
  4. We will be responsible lenders.
  5. We will deliver high customer service and standards.
  6. We will deal fairly with any complaints.
  7. We will recognise customer rights as owners.
  8. We will comply with our legal and industry obligations.
  9. We will recognise our impact on the wider community.
  10. We will support and promote this Code of Practice.

UNEP FI

bankmecu became a signatory to the United Nations Environment Programme Statement by Financial Institutions on the Environment and Sustainable Development (UNEP FI) in January 2004 and was the first credit union in the Asia Pacific to do so. UNEP FI is a global partnership between UNEP and the private financial sector to develop and promote the relationship between sustainability and financial performance. Through various activities, UNEP FI carries out its mission to identify, promote and realise the adoption of best environmental and sustainability practice within financial institutions.

UNEP FI principles are embedded in bankmecu practices and addressed throughout this report.

For further information about UNEP FI, visit: http://www.unepfi.org/about/index.html

UN Global Compact

bankmecu became a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact (UN GC) in 2010.

Launched in July 2000 the UN Global Compact is an international leadership initiative endorsed by member organisation chief executives. It seeks to align business operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.

For further information about UN GC, visit: www.unglobalcompact.org

UN Global Compact performance
  Action Point Owner Progress
1 bankmecu will maintain human resource policies covering equal opportunity, workplace behaviour, racial and religious tolerance, affirmative action, anti-discrimination, grievance and acceptable conduct. Manager Human Resources Maintained.
bankmecu will abide by all legislation relative to human rights in Australia. Managing Director Management are satisfied bankmecu has complied with HR laws of Australia through the implementation of HR policies.
 3 Through its participation in Credit Union Foundation Australia (CUFA), bankmecu will investigate and identify any opportunities to support protection of human rights. GM Development

bankmecu has become a member of and is attending meetings of the UNGC Human Rights Working Group for Business.

Through this membership bankmecu shall gain a better understanding of how human rights issues are relevant to our business and what appropriate responses can be implemented.

The GM Development has been appointed a Director of CUFA. CUFA has developed a set of policies which aim to ensure the protection of human rights.

 4 bankmecu will continue to maintain policies that uphold freedom of association, and employee rights to choose collective bargaining.  Manager Human Resources Maintained.
 5 Through its participation in CUFA, bankmecu will investigate and identify any opportunities to uphold constructive labour standards.  GM Development GM Development has been appointed a Director of CUFA and will ensure that CUFA-funded projects (to which bankmecu invests funds) uphold constructive labour standards.
bankmecu will implement an Environmental Management System (EMS) which will see the Company identify environmental aspects with a negative environmental impact. The EMS will provide the means for driving positive environmental outcomes and continual improvement across bankmecu GM Operations and Risk EMS on schedule.
 7 bankmecu will maintain a zero tolerance culture for corrupt behaviour including fraud.  Managing Director and Board bankmecu has in place policies, procedures and controls to maintain a zero tolerance culture for corrupt behaviour. Ongoing. 
 8 bankmecu will continue to comply with all relevant legislation and codes that are in place to protect customers’ money and personal information.  Managing Director  bankmecu has in place policies, procedures and controls to ensure robust compliance with all legislation and codes. Ongoing. 
 9 Through its participation in the Abacus’ National Fraud Prevention Network, bankmecu will strive to prevent corrupt activity across the mutual sector. GM Operations and Risk bankmecu has active representation in Abacus’ Fraud Prevention Network. Ongoing.
 10 Through its participation in CUFA, bankmecu will investigate and identify any additional opportunities to address the UNGC principle area of anti-corruption.  GM Operations and Risk General Manager Development is on the Board of CUFA which monitors CUFA’s operations. 
 11 bankmecu will produce an annual Sustainability Report that is transparent and clearly outlines defined accountabilities and requirements under the UN Global Compact.  GM Operations and Risk Included in this Report. 

UN Principles for Responsible Investment

bankmecu became a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UN PRI) in 2010.

UN PRI is an investor initiative in partnership with United Nations Environment Program Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) and United Nations Global Compact. UN PRI identifies and aims to address environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) issues that affect the performance of investments. The Principles complement the UN Global Compact and are a natural extension of the work of UNEP FI, which has helped elevate the importance of environmental and social issues in financial markets.

The Principles for Responsible Investment were developed by an international group of institutional investors reflecting the increasing relevance of environmental, social and corporate governance issues to investment practices.

Information on where bankmecu responsibly invests customer’s money can be found here.

For further information about UN PRI, visit: http://www.unpri.org

UN PRI performance
  Action Point Owner Progress
12 bankmecu will update its investment procedures to provide for compliance with bankmecu’s Responsible Investment and Lending Policy. GM Corporate Services Ongoing as required.
13  bankmecu will update its assessment procedures for credit applications from all community sector organisations to ensure compliance with bankmecu’s Responsible Investment and Lending Policy. GM Personal Banking Complete. The Responsible Lending and Investment Policy has been referenced in the assessing guideline.
 14 bankmecu will write to Standard & Poor’s requesting them to detail how ESG considerations are factored into the credit rating assessment process. GM Corporate Services ESG considerations were discussed at bankmecu’s 2011 credit review. This item is closed.
 15 bankmecu will lobby with the UNEP FI seeking its support to encourage all international rating agencies to factor ESG considerations into their credit rating assessments. GM Development Members of the Executive raised with Standard and Poor’s (S&P’s) the question of how it takes into account corporate sustainability in the assessment of credit ratings. S&Ps confirmed that an organisation’s governance structures are taken into consideration.
 16 bankmecu will formally engage with MyState Financial, Data Action and Cuscal and encourage any other companies in which the Company invests customers’ funds to promote ESG practices. Managing Director

The CEO of MyState presented to Executive Management and the Chair of the Finance Committee during October 2011.No ESG issues were identified as a concern.

bankmecu continues to have representation at the Data Action Board and monitors ongoing ESG practices.

In supporting the development of switching/ATM capability by Cuscal, bankmecu is supporting the cooperative endeavours of the mutual sector.

17 bankmecu will encourage all ADIs in which it invests its customers’ funds or in which it makes capital investments to produce a sustainability report, preferably using the GRI standard. GM Corporate Services No update.
18 bankmecu will incorporate ESG factors into its Outsourcing Policy and all requests for proposals. GM Operations and Risk Policy review undertaken at March 2011 meeting of the Sustainable Development Committee. Completed.
19 bankmecu will encourage Abacus to support ESG regulatory developments that are relevant to the banking sector. GM Development Ongoing as required.
20 bankmecu will encourage SFG Australia to meet the needs of its members who prefer socially responsible investments. GM Operations and Risk Discussed in meetings with representatives of Shadforth Financial Group (SFG) Australia.
 21 bankmecu will liaise with the Mutuals Code Compliance Committee where it believes the Mutual Banking Code of Practice can be enhanced to better address ESG issues. GM Personal Banking No update.
22 bankmecu will be an active member of the Responsible Investment Association Australasia, UNEP FI and UN Global Compact. GM Operations and Risk Ongoing.
23 bankmecu will develop a network of mutually owned ADIs committed to implementing ESG practices into their businesses. GM Development

The network held its first meeting in June 2011. Further meetings will be conducted based on need or to discuss specific matters of joint interest.

Discussions have continued with Community CPS Australia Credit Union (December and March) around ESG areas of interest where both organisations can collaborate.

bankmecu has taken a lead role in the discussion around the formation of a peak body to represent cooperative enterprise in Australia. Opportunities therefore now exist to develop a broader network of mutually owned businesses outside the ADI sector. The General Manager Development presented at the AMI Conference in March 2012 to Australian Mutuals and mutual banks on the topic of responsible banking, and profitable growth.

24 bankmecu will include details in its Sustainability Report as to how its commitment to the UN PRI is implemented. GM Operations and Risk Included in this Report.
25 bankmecu will ensure its Sustainability Report discloses how ESG considerations are factored into its lending and other investment decisions. GM Operations and Risk Included in this Report.
26 bankmecu will include its active ownership activity into the Sustainability Report. GM Operations and Risk Included in this Report.

Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP)

bankmecu launched its first Reconciliation Action Plan at Spring Gully Primary School, Bendigo on 18 November 2010. bankmecu’s RAP was developed in collaboration with Reconciliation Australia to further employee diversity and other social development objectives. It is a public contribution towards the national effort to close the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. The RAP identifies clear actions and realistic targets to guide bankmecu in contributing to ‘closing the gap’.

bankmecu’s RAP follows the guiding principles outlined by Reconciliation Australia:

  • Relationships – building good relationships with Indigenous people
  • Respect – building respect for Indigenous contribution to Australia
  • Opportunities – working to ensure equal opportunity for Indigenous people.

bankmecu has come to the end of the first designated reporting period and has now produced a second RAP. bankmecu’s RAP is available here.

For further information about Reconciliation Australia, visit: www.reconciliation.org.au

Reconciliation Action Plan performance 2010–2012

RELATIONSHIPS

 

Within the Company’s sphere of influence, bankmecu believes it is necessary to build relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in order to participate in the reconciliation process, provide leadership to others, and help bankmecu incorporate the value of deeper engagement with staff and community. Stronger relationships will result in more confident and trusting interactions with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander customers and employees and therefore a more effective service.

Action Responsibility Measurable target Progress
Establish Working Group to monitor RAP progress and consult with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stakeholders regularly. GM Operations and Risk

RAP Working Group met quarterly and measured progress against RAP actions.

RAP Working Group consulted with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders stakeholders at least twice for feedback on RAP actions and progress.

A RAP Working Group was set up with representatives from across the organisation, meeting monthly.

A RAP renewal process is currently underway and consultation with Aboriginal stakeholders is taking place.

Develop a database of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander professional and community contacts or organisations to consult with in the development of programs relevant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. GM Development

Research project to identify contacts completed.

Database developed and made available to all staff.

bankmecu strengthened its relationships with local Aboriginal community groups. A database of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander professional and community contacts was established in January 2011.

The bankmecu Stakeholder Register now includes this database as a separate item.

The register is to be reviewed and updated quarterly.

Develop an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander RAP engagement / communications strategy.  GM Development Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander engagement / communications strategy developed.

Communication of bankmecu’s first RAP complete.

A RAP Launch was held at the Spring Gully Primary School in Bendigo. bankmecu engaged with Cultural Indulgence, an indigenous enterprise to provide the food for the guests of the event.

bankmecu’s Annual Report provides stakeholders with actions and performance undertaken to date.

A formal communications strategy is yet to be developed and will be considered as part of the bankmecu brand and corporate communications plan being developed in consultation with an external communications service provider.

RESPECT

 

Building awareness of and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories and culture is pivotal for bankmecu’s participation in the reconciliation process. By encouraging respectful relationships, we are working towards a more inclusive workplace culture that will ultimately better support our employees.

Action Responsibility Measurable target Progress
Develop bankmecu’s staff engagement survey to include an audit of staff engagement with cultural awareness. Manager Human Resources Questions included in staff engagement survey with results to inform cultural development plans and relayed to cultural awareness training providers. Questions were included in the staff engagement survey. The result indicated that the majority of respondents (75%) did not believe they have undertaken specific cultural awareness training and 83% believe it is important to their personal and professional development. Diversity-based training continues to be an annual training requirement for all staff and specific cultural awareness training to be included as a core requirement in staff’s annual training plans.
Incorporate cultural awareness into bankmecu’s Sustainability Training program, to increase awareness, knowledge and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories and culture.  Manager Human Resources Cultural awareness incorporated into bankmecu’s on-line Sustainability Training program. bankmecu’s online staff sustainability and brand training has commenced rollout. Twenty-seven sites are fully complete.
Encourage staff participation in cultural events and awareness initiatives to build relationships and understanding. Footprints Staff participation in at least one Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural event or awareness initiative.

Six staff members attended a Melbourne CBD Cultural Heritage Walk through the Koorie Heritage Trust.

Two RAP Working Group members completed an online Cross Cultural Competence Training Program – a 10-module online program run by Cross Cultural Centre Australia in conjunction with TAFE NSW.

One RAP Working Group member attended the Indigenous Sustainability Conference held in Sydney in February 2012. 

Circulate information on ‘hot topics’ to staff on specific reconciliation issues. Footprints. Minimum of four topics to be covered per annum.

A National Reconciliation Week awareness campaign was conducted. Four ‘hot topics’ were covered through fact sheets followed by a staff quiz.

Protocols developed for acknowledgement of country or traditional custodians and Welcome to Country at bankmecu owned and occupied properties. RAP Working Group. Protocols developed and made available to all staff for acknowledgement of country or traditional custodians and Welcome to Country at bankmecu owned and rented properties.

Protocols were developed and made available to all staff for acknowledgement of country or traditional custodians at gatherings and for installing acknowledgement plaques at all bankmecu owned and rented properties.

Traditional custodians have been identified at each bankmecu service centre location.

Acknowledgment plaques will be installed at each service centre during 2012/13.

OPPORTUNITIES

 

bankmecu recognises the need to provide equal opportunity to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the workplace, through education and by providing access to financial products and services. This will create a more diverse employment base and improve bankmecu’s overall market access.

Action Responsibility Measurable target Progress
Conduct an audit of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander recruitment and retention strategies, in collaboration with Indigenous stakeholders and employment professionals, to identify best practice for recruiting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees. Manager Human Resources

Audit completed.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander recruitment and retention policies established.

Human Resource Policies have been reviewed to ensure that they adequately considered Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island recruitment and retention.

Contact has been made and discussions are continuing with several organisations that could potentially provide the support bankmecu needs for Aboriginal Trainees:

  • Gippsland TAFE
  • Education Centre Gippsland (ECG)
  • MEGT (bankmecu’s current traineeship partner)
  • Bendigo Indigenous Employment Services
  • Victorian Aboriginal Education Association (VAEAI)
  • Latrobe City Council – Employment Development Division.
Identify opportunities for work placement opportunities through bankmecu’s traineeship scheme. Manager Human Resources

Opportunities identified.

At least one Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander trainee employed or commenced through the trainee scheme.

Two Aboriginal trainees commenced employment in May 2011 through bankmecu’s existing traineeship program in Gippsland. One of the trainees has completed a Certificate III in Financial Services and is due to complete the bankmecu traineeship in May.

bankmecu continues to investigate the feasibility of introducing a school-based trainee program in Bendigo.

One Bendigo-based trainee who commenced in January 2012 was a previous attendee at the Traineeship Information Sessions held at Bendigo Secondary College in 2011 and a previous participant of the school’s Indigenous Homework Program.

Support the CUFA Indigenous Financial Literacy Initiative, including in-kind support and monetary contributions. GM Development. Monetary contributions made.

No monetary contributions have been made to CUFA to date towards Indigenous Financial Literacy, but opportunities will continue to be explored.

CUFA has surveyed Australian Mutuals in order to ascertain their interest in supporting an indigenous communities program. CUFA has now met the CEO of Traditional CU to ascertain her interest in receiving support from CUFA. The CUFA Board will continue to discuss this matter.

GM Development has canvassed credit unions, building societies and customer-owned banks to ascertain interest in developing a collective response to indigenous support.

Discussions have been held with the Cathy Freeman Foundation around a possible community investment.

Strengthen bankmecu’s capacity to market products effectively to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander customers (individuals, organisations and communities).

GM Personal Banking.

GM Development.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander customer base surveyed on customer satisfaction.

bankmecu approved finance for a loan through the Indigenous Business Australia Housing Loan Scheme, which offers concessional housing loans to enable Indigenous Australians to purchase their first affordable family home.

Review of banking needs of Community Sector Organisations, to be completed in 2012/13, will consider the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander customers.

Some community banking managers are now participating in local National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) activities and Committees.

Support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities consistent with bankmecu’s community investment program. GM Development.

Existing community investment opportunities identified.

Additional opportunities identified for funding through bankmecu’s Community Investment Program, in consultation with Indigenous stakeholder groups.

2–3% of annual funds allocated for community investment to be spent on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander programs.

bankmecu invested $25,000 in the School Aid Children’s Indigenous Literacy program. A presentation was made at the RAP launch.

bankmecu sponsored the establishment of an indigenous scholarship through the 2012 Loddon Murray Community Leadership Program. The Bendigo and District Aboriginal Cooperative identified a candidate to participate in the program. This is significant because it is the first time in 10 years that an Aboriginal person has participated and the candidate is the first Aboriginal person from Bendigo to participate in the program for community leaders. bankmecu is replicating this initiative in 2012 with leadership programs in Gippsland and Ballarat.

bankmecu provided a scholarship through Blue Stockings which is an association that supports women of all ages, backgrounds and socio-economic standing to pursue their education. The inaugural recipient of this scholarship was a Koorie woman.

bankmecu provided investment for a West Gippsland Indigenous luncheon. The purpose of this investment was to provide a forum in which the Aboriginal Elders elders of West Gippsland can demonstrate leadership within their community, and provides the local community with the opportunity to discuss issues and develop relevant solutions. 

Encourage existing contractors/suppliers to develop a RAP. GM Corporate Services.

100% of all contractors/suppliers approached about creating a RAP.

Only larger suppliers where tenders are required will this do so. Refer below.
All bankmecu tender documents to encourage potential contractors to commit to develop a RAP. GM Corporate Services. 100% of all bankmecu tender documents to encourage applicants and potential contractors to develop RAPs. An Environmental Management System Supplier Questionnaire form has been developed. Amongst other key sustainability considerations, the questionnaire includes a section covering Reconciliation Australia’s RAP process. The supplier questionnaire will accompany all tenders.
Promote the work of bankmecu’s RAP, together with other responsible banking initiatives, to other Mutuals.

ALL Directors, Managing Director and GMs.

RAP Working Group.

Engagement activity undertaken. For example, promotion of bankmecu’s RAP at industry forums and meetings. bankmecu invited Paul Paulson, former Reconciliation Australia employee, to talk at the Credit Union Sustainable Development Network forum held on 28 June 2011.

Encourage member organisations and organisations bankmecu invests in to develop RAPs.

GM Development. Stakeholder engagement with bankmecu member organisations regarding the benefits of developing a RAP.

Community organisations banking with bankmecu were sent communications promoting bankmecu’s RAP and the benefits of being involved in the RAP process.

Community Banking Managers regularly discuss bankmecu’s RAP with customers from the Community Sector. Community Banking Managers are being encouraged to consider whether community investments can be linked to outcomes which support the aims of our RAP.

Identify the RAP activities of CUFA and other Mutuals in Australia that bankmecu can collaborate with. RAP Working Group. At least four activities per year undertaken with CUFA or another Mutuals. Target has not been met because opportunities have not been identified. Efforts are ongoing to identify opportunities in the future.

Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV)

bankmecu became the first and only Australian member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values in May 2012. The GABV is an international organisation made up of 15 of the world’s leading sustainable banks. Their collective goal is to touch the lives of one billion people through sustainable banking by 2020.

According to a report commissioned by the GABV, the world’s sustainable banks are outperforming larger mainstream banks in terms of return on assets, growth in loans and deposits, and capital strength. The report concluded that values-based banks were stronger financially with more, and better quality, capital. They were also twice as likely to invest their assets in loans.

For further information about the GABV report, visit: http://www.gabv.org/our-news/report-shows-sustainable-banks-outperform-worlds-largest-banks

GABV requirements include:

  • being an independent bank with a focus on retail customers
  • having minimum on balance sheet assets of $50 million; and,
  • most significantly, being committed to social banking and the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit.

For further information about GABV, visit: http://www.gabv.org

Abacus – Australian Mutuals

Abacus – Australian Mutuals is the industry representative body for the Australian mutual financial services sector, an alliance of customer-owned banks, mutual building societies, credit unions and friendly societies. Abacus is owned by its member institutions. Abacus brings together shared values to deliver a strong and clear single voice for Australian mutuals. Abacus promotes the role of the mutual financial services sector and represents its interests to:

  • federal and state governments
  • regulators, such as the APRA and ASIC
  • industry and consumer groups
  • the media; and
  • the general public and other stakeholders.

Abacus also provides its member institutions with advice and support services, including specialist teams dealing with public affairs, overseeing representation, providing input to reforms and policy, and liaison with media and other stakeholders.

Abacus has represented the industry in the following areas during the reporting period:

Competition: Competition in the banking market remains an integral issue for Australians with the market dominance of the ‘big four’ banks. Customer-owned banks, credit unions and mutual building societies deliver professional and ethical banking to some 4.6 million Australians, and these institutions are more essential than ever to maintaining competition and giving consumers choice.

Deposit guarantee scheme: Abacus supports the continuation of the deposit guarantee under the Financial Claims Scheme (FCS). Deposits with customer-owned banks, credit unions and mutual building societies of up to $250,000 are covered on a permanent basis by the government guarantee from 1 February 2012.

Abacus is encouraging the government to facilitate access to funding by mutual ADIs by:

  • promoting public understanding of the prudential regulatory framework and the status of mutual ADIs within that framework;
  • taking further action to resuscitate securitisation markets;
  • reducing the regulatory compliance burden on prudentially-regulated and responsible lenders such as mutual ADIs; and
  • supporting smaller ADIs to access wholesale funding through securitisation and other means.

National consumer credit legislation: Abacus supports the aims of the new federal consumer credit laws. A single harmonised regime, a level regulatory playing field for all credit providers, and access to low-cost dispute resolution are all welcome and important steps to provide consumer protection.

Prudential issues: Abacus works on matters arising from the impact of deposit insurance and the new Basel III capital accord, and APRA prudential supervision, including liquidity, governance and executive remuneration issues.

Unfair contracts: Abacus members support harmonised laws that protect consumers from unfair contract terms and more fairly balance the rights of lenders and consumers.

Source: http://www.abacus.org.au/policy/key-issues

For further information about Abacus, visit: http://www.abacus.org.au/

Political lobbying and contributions

bankmecu does not participate in direct political lobbying nor does it provide political party contributions. However, bankmecu advocates through the key industry association Abacus as a member organisation.

bankmecu also supports some non-government organisations which do have a lobbying and advocacy role through the Bank’s Community Investment Program

Awards and external recognition

During 2011/12, bankmecu was pleased to receive the following awards and recognition:

  • Socially Responsible Institution of the Year (unlisted) Money Magazine 2012
  • Your Mortgage Magazine Gold for the Bank’s 1 Year Fixed Home Loan.

Banker for civil society and the government

bankmecu will be positioned as a respected provider of responsible banking services to selected organisations that operate in the community, government sectors and their employees.

Community banking

Many community sector organisations share much in common with bankmecu, including values and a sense of social and environmental purpose. bankmecu is committed to meeting the banking needs of this sector, which includes government agencies, schools and a host of non-government organisations.

Customers from the community sector now represent fifteen of bankmecu’s twenty largest investors. bankmecu anticipates the value of this customer segment will continue to increase in coming years as the Bank seeks to meet the sectors growing need for mission driven and competitive investments.

The total value of Community Sector Banking (Deposits and Loans) as at 30 June 2012 was $444,914,798. This is an increase of 23.91 per cent compared to the same time last year.

Community Investment Program

bankmecu’s Community Investment Program represents an investment made by bankmecu on behalf of its customers. Program funding comes from bankmecu profits, and in the true spirit of cooperation, investments are made back into the communities from which bankmecu itself derives its support and generates its profits.

The objective of the bankmecu Community Investment Program is to support activities that build community capability to make a contribution to resolving relevant economic, social and environmental problems. bankmecu considers that by developing capability within communities they are better positioned to draw on their own resources to become sustainable in the long term.

bankmecu has committed to investing up to 4 per cent of its budgeted after-tax profits via the Community Investment Program. bankmecu focuses its investment in four key areas identified through stakeholder engagement. These are: Environment, Housing, Community resilience and International development. Investments are made on the condition that an impact report is provided by the applicant.

bankmecu is giving consideration as to how it can develop more robust social return on investment methodology.

Community investment by focus area in 2011/12
Community resilience Environment Housing International development TOTAL
$587, 577.33 $400, 884.86 $124,310 $30,973 $1,143,745
Annual bankmecu community investment spend

In 2011/12 bankmecu invested 4.23 per cent of its after-tax profit into the Community Investment Program. Investments are outlined below.

Area of investment: Community resilience
Name of Project Purpose
Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) National Conference To support the participation of people with a disability and their carers from across Australia to attend the ACOSS 2012 National Conference.
Disability Project Canberra – Building better options for young people with a disability To support the development of meaningful options for young people aged 18 to 25 years with moderate to severe disability.
CEO Conference, National Disability Services (NDS) Canberra To support the professional development of Disability Service CEOs.
Committee for Ballarat To support the Ballarat region in facilitating economic and social development to leave a notable and sustainable legacy for the entire community.
The Ballarat Foundation To support the ongoing viability of The Ballarat Foundation and its ability to support the Ballarat community through its philanthropic work.
Community Leadership Loddon Murray Program (LMCLP) To support the development of leaders for vibrant and sustainable communities across central and north-west Victoria through the delivery of the annual LMCLP.
Bendigo Business Council (BBC) To enhance relationship between Bendigo Business and the Bendigo community sector while developing an environment of cooperation, goodwill and collaboration amongst central Victorian businesses.
Community Foundation For Bendigo and Central Victoria To improve awareness of the Foundation and develop an environment of co-operation, goodwill and collaboration on community issues within Bendigo and Central Victoria.
Queensland Council of Social Services (QCOSS) Annual Conference – Resilient Communities Fairer Queensland Support the professional development of the Queensland social services sector to help build resilience in communities and fairness for disadvantaged people. 
Committee for Gippsland To support the Gippsland community to improve planning for a better social, economic and environmental future in the Gippsland region.
Victorian Council of Social Service To support the professional development of leaders in the social services sector in Victoria. To support the VCOSS/bankmecu Finance Managers Network as part of the VCOSS Clearinghouse.
CSIRO – Malcolm McIntosh Lecture To provide a free public lecture on a topical science issue to increase the public’s understanding of the importance of science.
CSIRO – Indigenous Pathways Roundtable To support learning opportunities that provide employment pathways for Indigenous students in science-related fields.
South Australian Council of Social Service (SACOSS) Cost of Living Summit To support initiatives and ideas which assist in alleviating cost of living issues in South Australia.
SACOSS Community Development Conference To support the professional development of leaders in the social services sector in South Australia.

Victorian Women’s Trust – Be the Hero Program

Link to video

To encourage young men to build respectful relationships with women.

Uniting Care Kippax Community Garden

To support the supply of fresh organically grown vegetables for people accessing emergency relief as well as children and families living in disadvantage.

Integrated Reporting Pilot Programme

To support research on integrated reporting and continue to demonstrate leadership in sustainable performance and reporting.

VLGA Essential Mayor’s Weekend in January

Support the professional development of local government leaders in Victoria.

Logan Child Friendly Communities Consortium 

To encourage initiatives which promote the development of Child Friendly Cities.

Disability Professionals Victoria

To support the professional development of professionals working in the disability sector.

NDS/DPV Strength to Strength Finance Special Interest Group

To support the professional development of professionals working in the disability sector.

Snedden, Hall & Gallop, Athletics Day for Children with a Disability.

To acknowledge children with a disability for their achievements in the sporting arena.

Brainfood 2011 Conference

To support the professional development of Adult and Community Education.

Leadership Ballarat and Western Region (LBWR) – Indigenous Scholarship

Support a local indigenous persons to participate in and benefit from LBWR.

Supporting Parents of Children with Autism and Aspergers (SPOCAAS) conference

To increase the understanding and management of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Shared Service Project

Research paper to assist bankmecu understand how it can support community sector organisations develop shared services.

Zillmere Festival

To encourage sustainability through cultural diversity. 

Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) Regional Queensland Conference 

To support the professional development of the community sector in Queensland.

Social Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Alliance

Support the establishment of a secretariat for the SIEE alliance which encouraged information exchange and development in the area of social innovation.

NAIDOC week – Bendigo

To celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Social Traders – Next Gen Capitalism – Profit, People, Planet

Encourage discussion on the role of business to deliver social and environmental outcomes with particular focus on the role of cooperatives.

International Year of Cooperatives Conference (Australia)

Link to video

To support the professional development and understanding of cooperatives in Australia.

Tandem Support Services

To support opportunities for Tandem clients to enjoy a short holiday outside of the ACT that they might not otherwise be able to afford.

The RACV Energy Breakthrough

To encourage participants to examine and use the latest technology while considering its impact on the environment and the way people live locally and globally.
Association of Business Managers in Victorian State Schools To support the professional development of business managers in Victorian state schools.
Australian Education Union – Victorian Branch To support the professional development of teachers and leadership development for government school leaders.
School for Student Leadership To provide opportunities for Year 9 students to develop into school and community leaders.
Department of Education and Early Childhood Development – Schools Financial Management Training To encourage professional development of educational leaders including principals and business managers on financial matters.
Department of Education and Early Childhood Development – Education Excellence Awards To recognise and promote excellence amongst secondary school teachers and school business managers.
State Schools’ Relief To ensure Victorian students have adequate and appropriate school attire to assist them to focus on their studies and maximise their potential. 
Victorian Association of State Secondary Principals (VASSP)  To support the professional development of Principals in Victorian State Secondary Schools.
Loddon Mallee Principals Conference To support the professional development of principals in the Loddon Mallee region of Victoria.
CSIRO – Science by Email To encourage science-based learning and science as a career path through provision of a free weekly newsletter. 
RMIT Global Shifts Conference Inaugural conference bringing together change makers, entrepreneurs and leaders from around the world to discuss, debate and demonstrate how pushing the boundaries of existing business models can contribute to positive social change.
Community Leadership Loddon Murray (CLLM) Indigenous Scholarship Support for a local indigenous person to participate in and benefit from CLLM.
Area of investment: environment
Investment Recipient Purpose
Country Fire Authority – Minimay Fire Brigade To support the local fire brigade where bankmecu’s Landbank is located.
Wimmera Biodiversity Seminar 2011 To support the Wimmera Biodiversity Seminar 2011. The event is a major nature conservation event in the region attracting people from the Wimmera and beyond for a full day of presentations, field trips and networking.
Environment Victoria – One Million Homes Alliance To support the One Million Homes alliance in developing policy options for achieving 5-star homes. It is their aim that one million Victorian homes will be retrofitted to help curb rising electricity and water prices, reduce greenhouse emissions and inspire people to live within the limits of nature. 

Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) – New Economics Program

Link to video

To assist ACF with the development of the new economics program which aims to advance practical, achievable improvements in economic theory and practice to better promote human wellbeing in an ecologically sustainable way. 
Greening Australia Capital Region – Direct Seeding Project To support local direct seeding activity. Direct seeding is a mature technology in the ACT Region. Seed is collected from native trees and shrubs and deposited directly into the ground. This enables landscapes in ACT and southern NSW that were once over-cleared to be restored with vegetation. 
Greenfleet bankmecu supported two Greenfleet projects:
a) The reprint of Your Sustainable Transport Guide. A guide to help businesses reduce the environmental footprint of transport with technologies that are available today.
b) The International Year of the Forests Business Breakfast to discuss the role of forests in climate change mitigation and adaptation, and associated regulatory environment.
Bendigo Sustainability Group Working together to create a sustainable future for Bendigo and Central Victoria by fostering co-operation, goodwill and collaboration on sustainability issues within the community, including business. A highlight of this year’s investment was to support sustainability ‘guru’ Paul Hawken’s visit to Bendigo to share his knowledge and ideas.
Victorian Environmental Friends Network (VEFN) Conference To support the Biannual VEFN Conference held in Campaspe Downs (near Kyneton) including taking delegates on a tour of the Goldfields Friends and Landcare sites, which greatly improved knowledge of what has been done in the area and provided inspiration to try new ways of working.
Queensland Landcare Conference 2012 To provide natural resource managers from across Queensland and elsewhere with a forum for information exchange, meaningful dialogue, social interaction, networking and capacity building.
Environment Victoria – Business Roundtable for a Sustainable Victoria To support Environment Victoria establish a Business Roundtable for a Sustainable Victoria.

Landcare Australia – bankmecu. Further information about bankmecu‘s Conservation Landbank can be found here

To provide bankmecu with carbon and biodiversity offsets while at the same time protecting remnant vegetation and revegetating degraded marginal land.
Centre for Sustainable Regional Communities – Community Power Conference To explore current energy efficiency and renewable energy strategies and actions being taken by Australian communities.
Buda Historic Home and Garden To support BudaFest, one of Central Victoria’s premium gardening festivals that brings the local community together to promote local biodiversity and nature conservation groups.
Connecting Country Free Family Fun Nature Day To engage the community in central Victorian to take part and get involved in conservation activities.
Area of investment: Housing 
Community Housing Federation Victoria (CHFV) To promote professional development within the community housing sector.
Australian Green Development Forum – Energy Revolution To encourage the application of sustainable improvements to housing.
Building Design Association of Victoria (BDAV) Annual Awards 2011  The annual BDAV awards recognise innovation and design excellence. As part of our commitment to sustainable design, bankmecu supported this event including presenting two awards: Best Environmentally Sustainable Design – Residential, and Best Environmentally Sustainable Design – Non-residential.
Appropriate Housing for Older Australians – Stakeholder Engagement To understand the issues impacting on appropriate housing for older Australians.
Foresters Community Finance To support research being conducted in the area of financial exclusion for people who have a disability.

Alternative Technology Association – Speed date a Sustainable Designer

Link to video

To support the development of more sustainable housing through offering free advice from Australia’s leading sustainable building designers and architects.
Swinburne University – Swinburne Housing Studies Professional Development To support the professional development of key staff in the community housing sector.
International Council for Local Environment Initiatives (ICLEI) – Thriving Neighbourhoods Conference To support creating long-term sustainable change through local action.
National Housing Cooperatives Conference To celebrate and encourage the cooperative model as it applies to housing.
Area of investment: International development
World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU)  To promote the sustainable development of customer-owned banking and other financial cooperatives around the world to empower people through access to high quality and affordable financial services. 
Credit Union Foundation of Australia (CUFA) To assist financial cooperatives in the Asia Pacific to develop and empower their communities economically and socially.

Financial inclusion

bankmecu acknowledges a community need for low-cost, convenient and effective access to everyday banking facilities. The absence of these facilities is known as ‘financial exclusion’. Financial exclusion more often applies to lower income consumers and/or those in financial hardship. Financial exclusion is observable at individual, family or household level, but can also be heavily concentrated in suburbs or regions, and sometimes among ethnic minorities. Financial exclusion can also apply to individual small businesses, non-profit organisations and other community enterprise organisations.

bankmecu recognises some social groups are particularly affected by financial exclusion including:

  • low-income families
  • the unemployed
  • the elderly
  • students
  • those living in remote and rural areas
  • immigrants and those with little English
  • those with disabilities
  • indigenous communities.

bankmecu has in place a Board-adopted Financial Inclusion Policy to reduce financial exclusion and improve access to financial products and services across identified potentially disadvantaged groups.

bankmecu does not collect data on access points in low-populated or economically disadvantaged areas by type. However, bankmecu is a major business in Gippsland and the La Trobe Valley. Furthermore, the Bank’s overall presence in regional Victoria is very strong. These areas would likely fall into this category.

bankmecu has available the option for all customers to bank fee-free and during the previous reporting period bankmecu joined the rediATM network to improve ATM access for all Australians.

bankmecu is working with the disability sector to understand its needs with a view to developing banking products and services for this market. bankmecu’s 2012–2017 Development Plan identifies this as an area of future work.

Social Return on Investment (SROI)

In 2011, bankmecu commissioned a research report in collaboration with the Community Housing Federation of Australia and Powerhousing Australia to better understand the current and future impacts of community housing on wellbeing – at both a local and a national level, the aim being to be able to quantify the social benefits of bankmecu investing funds into housing projects. The research was conducted by Net Balance and was the first attempt in Australia to quantify social value at the sector-wide community housing level. The report, The Social Value of Community Housing in Australia, was released on 31 August 2011: www.powerhousingaustralia.com.au/_literature_73082/Community_Housing_SROI_–_Final

SROI methodology was applied to capture social value by translating social outcomes into monetary terms for community housing tenants.

Categories of outcomes identified were grouped and simplified into four broad categories:

  • economic benefits
  • educational benefits
  • health benefits; and
  • community inclusion benefits.

The research found the total present value for community housing in Australia, at the time of the report, to be $664,828,780 across these four areas. The calculation is likely to be underestimated, as a conservative approach was adopted. Furthermore, outcomes from community housing are far more broad-reaching and affect more than the lives of tenants. However, this process clearly demonstrates that community housing has a value to society.

SROI will be a continuing area of work in order to better quantify the non-financial benefits of bankmecu’s lending into the community sector, for the purpose of financing sustainable housing development and in the area of financing small-value loans to people who may otherwise be excluded from mainstream banking institutions.

Satisfied and engaged customers

bankmecu will maintain customer satisfaction levels at over 90 per cent and engage with customers to ensure the Bank reflects their attitudes, values, needs and expectations.

Customer insights survey

bankmecu commissioned an external provider to conduct bankmecu’s 2012 annual Customer Insights Survey. The research was conducted in accordance with AS: ISO 20252 guidelines.

Key areas of the research included demographics, financial relationships, customer satisfaction, net promoter score, and brand perceptions. The survey included additional questions this year to ascertain customer attitudes towards their present and future financial situation and management of finances, as well as key social and environmental issues of interest.

The overall stratified survey sample was randomly selected from bankmecu’s database of customers aged 18 years and over, with the exception that all corporate customers were included. All customers with an email were selected for the survey as the distribution method for the survey was online.

The survey was classified into value segments to enable the Bank to capture information based on the level of banking business customers conducted with the Bank. This form of segmentation was applied in response to focus group research which highlighted differing opinions and attitudes based on the level of their relationship with the Bank.

A total of 3271 surveys were completed. The survey was conducted online to achieve cost efficiencies and improved sustainability, increase responses and generate faster turnaround time for the report. bankmecu has the email addresses of 51 per cent of its customers.

The customer profile was weighted to correct sample variations from bankmecu’s customer profile.

Findings from the Customer Insights Survey are shared with the Board, across the Bank and with customers. Staff are encouraged to continually improve performance in line with customers’ expectations.

As a result of this research bankmecu aims to:

  • better understand the needs of customers in different age segments
  • better understand the needs of customers with under $5000 in value with the Bank
  • undertake competitive analysis of fees and charges, particularly those associated with savings and investment accounts; and
  • consider strategies to maintain a fair spread of value between depositors and borrowers.

Customer satisfaction

bankmecu includes a customer satisfaction component in its annual Customer Insights Survey. Customer satisfaction remains very high at 94 per cent, which is the same result as last year. The number of ‘very satisfied’ customers jumped from 49 per cent to 56 per cent in 2012. These results underpin bankmecu’s performance across the pricing, service and values area of the business and communicating a holistic range of benefits to existing customers. They reflect the successful integration of customers from merged entities and the support for the decision to become a bank.

The table below highlights customer satisfaction levels over the past seven years. ‘Net satisfied’ refers to respondents who were ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ and ‘net dissatisfied’ refers to respondents who were ‘dissatisfied’ or ‘very dissatisfied’.

Customer ‘net satisfaction’ and ‘net dissatisfaction’
  2011 / 12
(%)
2010 / 11
(%)
2009 / 10
(%)
2008 / 09
(%)
2007 / 08
(%)
2006 / 07
(%)
2005 / 06
(%)
2004 / 05
(%)
2003 / 04
(%)
Net satisfied 94 94 92 93 94 94 93 94 93
Net dissatisfied 6 6 8 7 5 5 6 4 5
No answer 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 2 2

bankmecu monitors satisfaction by age. bankmecu has an ageing customer base and endeavours to balance meeting their needs with the need to strategically attract and retain a larger younger market for the future. The table below reflects bankmecu customer ‘net satisfaction’ by age in 2011/12 compared to 2010/11.

Customer satisfaction by age

Research undertaken by Roy Morgan reports bankmecu’s satisfaction rating at 85.2 per cent. However, the report notes it is based on a small sample size therefore results can be subject to variability and should be treated as indicative only. The Roy Morgan sample was 80 customers, compared to bankmecu’s sample of 3500. A sample size of 80 would have a very large sample error rate.

Net promoter

A net promoter score (NPS) is a measure of customer loyalty, and complements bankmecu’s customer satisfaction score. It measures existing customers’ willingness to refer bankmecu to their friends or colleagues. This is a strong measure of customer satisfaction. The NPS question is standardised to ensure consistency across results and also across different industries to ensure a like-for-like comparison.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_Promoter

bankmecu has measured its NPS for the past three years and now has sufficient data to share with customers.

Over the past three years bankmecu has achieved the following results.

Net promoter results
  2011/12 2010/11 2009/10
Net promoter score 35 20 6

 

Since 2010 bankmecu promoters have increased from 40 per cent to 55 per cent, while detractors have decreased from 34 per cent to 20 per cent.

Respondents answer on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being very unlikely while 10 is very likely.

From here the NPS is calculated as follows:

Promoters = those who answer 9–10
Passives = those who answer 7–8
Detractors = those who answer 1–6
NPS = % promoters minus % detractors

Top 10 attributes customers associate with bankmecu 

Attribute 2011/12 2010/11 2009/10 2008/09  2007/08 2006/07* 2005/06*
(rank) (rank) (rank) (rank) (rank) (rank) (rank)
Provides customer service at a standard you require 75 (1) 91 (2)  81 (2)  90 (2)  90 (1) 90 (1) 90 (1)
Works to benefit customers, not just shareholders 70 (2) 88 (4) 77 (3) 87 (3) 90 (1) 91 (2)  90 (1)
Is a secure financial institution 69 (3) 78 (7) 69 (6) 73 (6) 87 (2) 87 (3) 85 (3)
Ethical (new for 2008/09) 67 (4) 98 (1) 89 (1) 97 (1)  -  -  -
Practises socially responsible banking 67 (5) 89 (3) 74 (4) 87 (3) 87 (2) 86 (4)  86 (2)
Provides value-for-money banking 60 (6) 80 (5) 60 (8) 79 (4) 85 (3) 85 (5) 85 (3)
Is community focused 60 (7) 73 (8) 68 (7) 72 (7) 72 (5) 70 (7) 69 (5)
Inexpensive account fees 53 (8) 80 (6) 72 (5) 78 (5) 82 (4) 83 (6) 84 (4)
Offers the most competitive banking investments 28 (9) 41 (11) 36 (10) 39 (10) 70 (6) 67 (8) 66 (6)
Offers the most competitive home loans 27 (10) 53 (9) 38 (9) 51 (8) 62 (8) 65 (9) 65 (7)
Widest range of financial products/services 23 (11) 41 (10) 32 (11) 40 (9) 68 (7) 65 (9) 64 (8)

The Customer Insights Survey required customers to rate how they perceive bankmecu against a list of key attributes. Attributes were then ranked in order of highest association to lowest. Previous years rankings are shown in brackets. The biggest mover, ‘is a secure financial institution’ moved from seventh to third highest ranked attribute, suggesting the decision to change designation to a bank has had a positive impact on customer perceptions of security. The lowest ranked attributes are likely due to the fact that a lower number of customers have home loans or investments, whereas a larger customer base is able to comment on subjects such as ethics, value and security.

Customer verbatim comments taken from the Customer Insights Survey also identified a reduction in last year’s prevalent focus on fees, again highlighting that customers have adapted to last year’s pricing changes, and modified their own behaviour to reduce fees.

Complaints and sensitive issues

Key issues of interest to bankmecu customers taken from the Customer Insights Survey can be found here.

bankmecu monitors and keeps a register of all written and verbal complaints received from customers. Complaints are tabled and statistics are reported to the Board of Directors on a monthly basis. A ‘Complaint and Dispute Resolution Guide for Customers’ is available on bankmecu’s website and is provided to customers on request, or to those who make a complaint. The guide explains the process available for the resolution of complaints.

Customers are encouraged to raise any concerns with bankmecu as the first step to resolve any complaint. Any decision may be referred for senior management review.

If a complaint cannot be resolved under bankmecu’s internal process, customers can access a free-of-charge external dispute resolution by an independent registered scheme. The schemes available are the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) or the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman (PHIO).

Summary of the main areas of complaint
Category 2011/12 2010/11 2009/10 2008/09 2007/08 2006/07 2005/06 2004/05
Fees and charges 21 68 159 43 48 61 79 72
Cards 63 68 47 17 33 34 107 42
Internet banking 48 51 104 38 24 47 69 89
Service 13 31 25 20 52 39 99 105
Lending 17 20 27 22 19 13 48 43
Service centre closures 0 16 42 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Term deposits 4 10 10 7 2 2 8 12
Direct entry 19 6 9 5 5 10 9 11
Various/ other 65 75 64 93 65 81 228 214
Total 250 345 503 245 248 287 654 594

Twelve customers referred their disputes to senior management for review in 2011/12. Matters considered included issues of liability regarding unauthorised access card transactions on customer accounts, the administration of loans and lending processes, the coverage of insurance policies and operational decisions made by bankmecu in the course of business.

In 2011/12 twelve customers referred their disputes to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) for investigation and external resolution. Five of these disputes had not previously accessed bankmecu’s Internal Disputes Resolution (IDR) process. Once addressed by bankmecu each was finalised to the customer’s satisfaction. At 30 June 2012, three disputes were yet to be finalised by FOS. One outstanding dispute was raised with FOS in 2010/11.

In the same year, bankmecu received 104 service compliments.

Customer financial education and advice

bankmecu facilitates a number of educational activities including the provision of general advice and the distribution of consumer education booklets and written communications.

bankmecu customers are offered ongoing education, advice and service by referral to a specialist financial planning service – Shadforth Financial Group (SFG) Australia.

During 2011/12 a number of customers applied for consideration in relation to their loan on the grounds of hardship. bankmecu provided 55 customers with hardship assistance (2010/11: 115).

Engaged staff

bankmecu will maintain employee organisational commitment (engagement) at over 70 per cent.

Employee profile

  • Full-time: 248 people (includes trainees; excludes contract, parental leave and work cover)
  • Part-time: 74 people
  • Casual: 8 people
  • Contract: 4 people
  • Maternity leave: 7 women
  • Full-time Equivalent (FTEs): 296.31 people
  • 118 staff members worked in metropolitan Melbourne
  • 101 worked in Gippsland
  • 76 worked in western Victoria
  • 46 worked at service centres located elsewhere around Australia
  • Fifteen per cent of staff members were born outside Australia
  • 13 per cent speak a language at home other than English
  • 1 per cent have some form of intellectual or physical disability.
Employees by gender (2011/12)

bankmecu has a predominantly female workforce: 246 of the 341 total employees at year end (72 per cent). Sixty per cent of all employees worked in customer service roles with females accounting for 84 per cent of these. The executive team are male. The Board is made up of one Managing Director and seven non-executive Directors, of which two are female, including the Deputy Chair.

Gender by employment category (2011/12)

bankmecu recognises there is a continuing gender imbalance at different employment categories, particularly at the Customer Services, Supervisor and Executive levels. bankmecu has a Human Resource Management policy that covers Affirmative Action and ensures the organisation removes barriers which prevent disadvantaged groups from competing, practices non-discrimination and employs the most suitable candidate for a given role. In 2011/12 the percentage of males and females at all employment categories remained consistent with previous years’ reporting.

bankmecu’s Human Resource manager is female and was given the opportunity to act as General Manager – Operations and Risk (an executive role) during the year.

Staff organisational effectiveness survey

For the past seven years, bankmecu has conducted an Organisational Effectiveness Survey, which asks staff to respond to a number of key measures including internal customer service, immediate supervisor/manager relations, ethics and integrity, organisational image, organisational learning, job satisfaction, organisational commitment, communication effectiveness, customer service standards, availability of product information, sustainability, organisational culture, brand awareness, financial awareness and employer of choice. The majority of all metrics showed improvement in 2011/12, with the remainder remaining unchanged from last year. 

Staff satisfaction and organisational commitment

Staff satisfaction is determined from the Organisational Effectiveness Survey results provided on the organisational commitment, job satisfaction and employer of choice measures.

bankmecu continued its high level of staff satisfaction in 2011/12, with overall staff satisfaction increasing to 88 per cent (2010/11: 86 per cent)

Organisational commitment has increased to 88 per cent in 2011/12 (2010/11: 86 per cent) and the Employer of choice remained consistent at 87 per cent in 2011/12 (2010/112010/11: 87 per cent)

Staff job satisfaction by location

In the 2011/12 survey, Melbourne region job satisfaction results decreased 6 per cent, Western Victoria increased 12 per cent, Gippsland increased 11 per cent and Interstate decreased 3 per cent. There is no apparent reason for the changes in job satisfaction apart from turnover of staff.

Staff job satisfaction by employment category

Employee recruitment

bankmecu’s Human Resources policy covers Equal Opportunity Employment. Recruitment processes are designed so that bankmecu recruits people best suited to roles and the Company, free from discrimination.

bankmecu’s commitment to sustainable development is included in position descriptions published for vacant roles and is discussed during the interview process.

Psychological profiling of senior candidates is undertaken to identify abilities, workplace preferences and frequencies. Profiling assists to identify suitable behaviours and behavioural risks relative to the role. Testing and profiling has been extended in some instances to include short-listed candidates for all positions.

Of continuing staff recruited since 1 July 2011, 59 per cent were female and 41 per cent were male. By location, 32 per cent of new recruits were employed in Western Victoria, 41 per cent in Melbourne, 9 per cent in Gippsland and 18 per cent interstate. By age, 41 per cent of new recruits were aged under 30, 36 per cent were aged 31–50 and 22 per cent were aged over 51 years. Eighteen per cent of new employees subsequently left in their first year.

In 2011/12 bankmecu’s traineeship program expanded into the Western Victorian region and includes School Based Traineeships. Efforts were also made to engage trainees with Aboriginal heritage. Staff appointed as School Based Trainees are required to complete a Certificate II in Business. Staff appointed to full-time bankmecu traineeships are required to complete a Certificate III in Financial Services. The skills for all trainees are developed through e-learning systems together with trainer support and on the job training.

In 2011/12, eight new traineeships were offered. Five were offered in Gippsland including one School Based Traineeship, and three were offered in Bendigo. Two traineeships were accepted by individuals from identified potentially disadvantaged groups.

Local recruitment

When recruiting for any position at bankmecu, positions are initially advertised internally and then advertised externally if necessary. Internal recruitment supports existing staff development and knowledge transfer across the organisation.

In 2011/12 bankmecu advertised 79 positions. Of the roles advertised, 31 were filled by internal applicants and 39 by external applicants. Nine positions remained vacant.

Positions in regional centres are advertised locally in an effort to recruit staff from the local community. In 2011/12 all external employees recruited in regional centres were local residents.

Employee turnover and job creation

bankmecu aims to continue to improve productivity and manage levels of staff turnover without losing customer focus. bankmecu’s turnover rate for continuing employees including full-time, part-time and casual staff for 2011/12 was 9.70 per cent (2010/11: 13.76 per cent)

Parental leave

bankmecu endeavours to be a flexible employer and retain staff who take parental leave. Flexibility requires the Bank to rethink the way positions are structured. While this may cost the Bank in monetary terms, it provides staff with security and enables the Bank to retain knowledge and expertise.

All continuing employees with more than 12 months continuous service are eligible for parental leave. Fifteen staff out of 305 total eligible staff commenced parental leave since 1 July 2011. Of the 15 staff who commenced parental leave since 1 July 2011, 14 were female and 1 was male.

Nine employees were due to return from parental leave after1 July 2011. Of these, six returned, one was granted an extension to their parental leave for an additional period, and two commenced a second entitlement of parental leave.

Seven employees concluded parental leave in the previous year. Of these seven females, five returned and two extended their parental leave. All five remained employees 12 months after the end of their leave.

Employee remuneration

bankmecu seeks to remunerate staff fairly and competitively according to industry standards, to provide benefits that help employees meet their needs and assist them to achieve a work/life balance.

The minimum wage as at 30 June 2011 in the Banking Finance and Insurance Award was $34,507 per annum. bankmecu’s lowest entry-level wage is $38,739 per annum, regardless of an employee’s employment category, gender or region of employment.

bankmecu salaries are determined using a range of external benchmarks, including the Australasian Mutuals Institute Salary Survey, and are reviewed annually to ensure they are competitive with industry standards.

Average remuneration by gender, region and per employment category (2011/12)
Customer Service Consultants
  Metropolitan Melbourne Western Victoria, Interstate and Gippsland Total no. of CSC Total average salary
  No. of staff % of staff Average salary $ Average remuneration $ No. of staff % of staff Average salary $ Average remuneration $    
Female 44 75 52,486 58,260 130 87 51,042 56,656 174 51,413
Male 15 25 55,076 61,134 19 13 49,244 54,661 34 51,817
Customer Service Consultant Total 59  - 53,145 58,991 149  - 50,808 56,397 208 51,480

 

Supervisor
  Metropolitan Melbourne Western Victoria, Interstate and Gippsland Total no. of Supervisors Total average salary
  No. of staff % of staff Average salary $ Average remuneration $ No. of staff % of staff Average salary $ Average remuneration $    
Female 7 64 63,144 70,089 22 95 64,075 71,123 29 63,850
Male 4 36 75,696 84,023 13 108 72,838 80,850 17 73,510
Supervisor Total 11  - 67,708 75,156 35  - 67,329 74,736 46 67,420

 

Technical
  Metropolitan Melbourne Western Victoria, Interstate and Gippsland Total no. of Technicals Total average salary
  No. of staff % of staff Average salary $ Average remuneration $ No. of staff % of staff Average salary $ Average remuneration $    
Female 15 60 82,581 91,665 6 94 70,221 77,945 21 79,049
Male 10 40 75,031 83,284 9 104 78,262 86,870 19 76,561
Technical Total 25  - 79,561 88,312 15  - 75,045 83,300 40 77,867

 

Management
  Metropolitan Melbourne Western Victoria, Interstate and Gippsland Total no. of Management Total average salary
Management No. of staff % of staff Average salary $ Average remuneration $ No. of staff % of staff Average salary $ Average remuneration $    
Female 9 50 101,629 112,808 13 54 79,908 88,698 22 88,794
Male 9 50 134,267 149,037 11 46 90,096 100,006 20 109,973
Management Total 18  - 117,948 130,922 24  - 84,577 93,881 42 98,879

 

Executive
  Metropolitan Melbourne Western Victoria, Interstate and Gippsland Total no. of Executives Total average salary
  No. of saff % of staff Average salary $ Average remuneration $ No. of staff % of staff Average salary $ Average remuneration $    
Male 5 100 352,413 391,178 - - - - 5 352,413
Executive Total 5  - 352,413 391,178 -  - - - 5 352,413

 Note: the annual salary figure listed is the staff member’s salary only. The total remuneration figure includes both the salary and the superannuation paid. Staff members are grouped to ensure there are five or more employees in a given category.

All staff are eligible for a salary increase following their annual review, dependent on individual performance and budget constraints. In 2011/12, the salary structure for employees increased by 2 per cent.

Executive and Board remuneration is reported in the Director remuneration section of this report under Governance and item 21 of the Statutory Accounts.

Bonuses are not paid to managers and the Executive.

Grade 1 Customer Service Consultants’ incentive payments are determined through the annual employee performance review system. In 2011/12, 94 per cent (2010/112010/11: 93 per cent) of bankmecu customer service consultants received an incentive payment equal to or greater than $450 (gross, pro-rata).

Other benefits for staff include:

  • salary packaging
  • examination leave
  • leave for blood donors and emergency service
  • gifts for significant milestones (10, 20 or 30 years of service, weddings and 21st birthdays)
  • gymnasium subsidies
  • flu vaccinations
  • quit smoking assistance
  • annual public transport ticket loan assistance
  • bicycle purchase loan assistance; and
  • study assistance.
Differences in benefits provided to full-time and casual staff

A number of Human Resources policies only apply to permanent full-time and part-time employees. The following policies exclude fixed-term contract and casual employees:

  • redundancy and retrenchment
  • study assistance; and
  • wellness.

Training and development

The annual staff performance review process includes an assessment of professional and personal development opportunities for staff. These opportunities are then fulfilled through a combination of on-the-job and external training.

Internal training occurs through courses, self-paced learning, formalised workbooks and ongoing on-the-job training. To complement training, all relevant information regarding legislation, products, policies, processes and procedures is available on bankmecu’s intranet, and via bankmecu’s online Policy Communication Server.

External training is provided by a number of different organisations. Staff undertaking under-graduate and post-graduate university and TAFE courses were supported by study assistance which includes funding for subject fees and time off to attend classes and exams where required.

In 2011/12 staff completed approximately 231 courses* comprising:

  • 206 short courses*
  • 15 conferences; and
  • 10 qualifications under bankmecu’s Traineeship Program or Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) requirements, Credit Licence and Study Assistance Programs.

*Definition of a ‘course’ at bankmecu is any form of training or seminar undertaken or attended, either internally or externally, which does not result in a qualification.

bankmecu spent a total of $269,330 on employee training and development in 2011/12 (equivalent to $909 per FTE).

The average number of hours spent in training per employee in 2011/12 was 43.80. This does not include attendance at conferences and qualifications training or any training completed by staff members whose employment was terminated throughout the 2011/12 reporting period.

Employee training hours by gender and employment category undertaken in 2011/12
Employment category Total hours by grade and gender* Number of FTE Average hours per employee
Grade 1 Female 6252.5    
  Male 1495    
Grade 1 total   7747.5 165.61 46.78
Grade 2 Female 1461    
  Male 731.2    
Grade 2 total   2192.2 55.6 39.43
Grade 3 Female 1250.8    
  Male 731.2    
Grade 3 total   2161.8 48.6 44.48
Grade 4 Female 254    
  Male 310.5    
Grade 4 total   564.5 14.5 38.93
Grade 5 Female 66.5    
  Male 159.5    
Grade 5 total   226 7 32.29
Grade 6 Male 55    
Grade 6 total   55 4 13.75
Managing Director Male 32.5    
Managing Director total   32.5 1 32.50
  Total hours 12979.5 296.31  
Average hours of training by employment category in 2011/12

*Figures include actual training hours completed by all staff members (i.e. they are not calculated by FTE).

Average training by gender in 2011/12 
  Number of FTE Hours of training completed Average number of training hours per year by gender Total hours as % per gender
Female 202.98 9284.80 45.74 68.50
Male 93.33 3694.70 39.59 31.50
Total 296.31 12,979.50 43.80 100.00
Training programs offered and hours undertaken in 2011/12 by gender 
Policy and procedure training Training modules completed – no. per actual employee Total modules completed Training hours completed Total hours training completed Average hours per FTE
  Female Male Total Female Male Total  
Anti-money laundering (AML) training 222 82 304 291.5 104 395.5 1.33
Compliance training 1457 520 1977 1757.5 624.5 2382 8.04
Cultural awareness training 29 14 43 148 46 194 0.65
Equal employment opportunity training 230 96 326 230 96 326 1.10
Fire and evacuation training 260 106 366 152.5 64.5 217 0.73
Financial Services Reform Act (FSRA) training 211 71 282 719 261 980 3.31
Induction training 20 8 28 150 60 210 0.71
Insurance training 494 214 708 823 308.5 1131.5 3.82
Job / systems training 2939 959 3898 3752.3 1516.2 5268.5 17.78
Occupational health and safety (OH&S) training 805 326 1131 419.5 163 582.5 1.97
Policy training 394 204 598 411.5 199 610.5 2.06
Sustainability specific training 325 140 465 430 252 682 2.30
Grand total 7386 2740

10,126 

9284.8 3694.7 12,979.5 43.80

 Note: Staff may complete more than one training module under a course category within a given year. Figures include actual training hours completed by all staff members excluding staff who have terminated employment within 2011/12 (i.e. they are not calculated by FTE).

bankmecu’s examination of delivery mechanisms used for existing training programs and the possibility of adopting more sustainable methods as appropriate has seen an increase in the number of training programs delivered in an online capacity.

Induction training at bankmecu is held approximately once every two months and is a collaborative effort of Executive Management and staff. A presentation is given by a representative from each department on what the department does and how the department fits into the organisational structure of bankmecu. Topics covered include Wellness, Human Resource policies and procedures, Financial Services Reform Act, Anti-Money Laundering, Training, Equal Employment Opportunity / Bullying and Harassment, Fire and Evacuation, Armed Hold-up, Company Structure, Occupational Health and Safety, Performance Planning, the benefits of working at bankmecu and the history and culture of bankmecu and that of the international customer-owned banking sectors.

After their induction to bankmecu, staff receive regular updates on company initiatives and performance through staff team meetings, corporate communications, intranet and one-on-one meetings with their line manager.

Sales and Service Program

A Sales and Service Program was developed and implemented during the year. The program includes 18 monthly modules covering brand, sustainability, customer service standards, service delivery and sales techniques. The goals of the program are to improve consistency of service and increase sales.

Staff brand literacy and sustainability training

2011/12 saw the continued rollout of a customised online bankmecu Sustainability and Brand Training Program. The program provided staff with specific knowledge on bankmecu’s brand and sustainability strategy in a format which aims to increase both staff knowledge on the bankmecu brand and their confidence in communicating bankmecu’s sustainability strategy to customers.

bankmecu online brand and sustainability training modules are now included as a training requirement for staff and included in the induction training program for new staff. This training needs to be revised and amended as necessary to reflect the transition to becoming a bank and bankmecu’s new Development Plan.

In addition, throughout 2011/12:

  • ‘Sustainable Development at bankmecu’ presentations were included in the staff induction program. This gives new staff an overview on what sustainability means at bankmecu and why the Company has embraced it. All speakers include sustainability elements in their presentation and explain the expectations and benefits of working in a company that values sustainable work practices.
  • ‘EcoDrive’ training is also provided in all employee inductions, providing guidance on safe and fuel-efficient driving techniques.
  • Members of the Footprints Committee (volunteer staff sustainability reference group) were given the opportunity to attend various sustainability events and programs throughout 2011/12. For example, the Koorie Trust ‘Walkin’ Birrarung – The Yarra Cultural Walk’, Paper Wars, Waste Wise events and other relevant launches.
  • The Risk Coordinator – Sustainability was given the opportunity to attend the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative Global Roundtable in Washington D.C., a Banking for Biodiversity workshop, a Mastering Water Risks in a Changing Climate workshop and also the opportunity to attend the International Year of the Cooperatives launch at the United Nations in New York.
Cultural awareness training

As part of bankmecu’s Reconciliation Action Plan in 2011/12 a total of 194 hours of cultural awareness training was undertaken by staff. Cultural awareness training initiatives for 2011/12 were linked to significant events in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander calendar and included National Reconciliation Week and Naidoc Week. Several members of the Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group completed a Cultural Competency course through TAFE NSW and the Centre for Cultural Competence. The course was delivered online and included an overview of Partnering with Aboriginal Communities and Traditional and Contemporary Aboriginal Culture. A Cultural Awareness Training workshop was run for managers in the Gippsland Region providing information specific to the Aboriginal population in Gippsland.

Forums and conferences

Staff also have the opportunity to attend various other forums and conferences throughout the year to increase knowledge and build internal capacity. Staff attended the following during 2011/12

  • Abacus Chairs’ and CEOs’ Forum
  • Australian Conference of Company Directors’ Annual Conference
  • Australian Insurance Summit
  • Trust For Nature – Biodiversity Conference
  • Carbon Price Summit – Carbon Tax Legislation
  • Lexis Nexis – Credit Law Conference
  • Credit Union Breakfast 2012
  • CUFA – Cambodian Leadership Challenge
  • CUFA – Development Education Conference
  • Global Alliance for Banking Values Conference
  • Credit Union Insight Conference
  • World Council of Credit Union WOCCU Conference

Health and safety

A number of policies and procedures are in place to deal with occupational health and safety (OH&S) issues. All incidents are recorded and, where necessary, appropriate action is taken.

OH&S Committee

bankmecu has in place an OH&S Committee designed to represent all staff in consultation with management on OH&S issues and opportunities. bankmecu currently has 10 representatives across the business, from Melbourne, Western Victoria, Gippsland and interstate. They include staff based in service centres and Human Resources representatives.

The OH&S Committee facilitates consultation between staff and management on matters relating to the health, safety and welfare of staff. The committee also organises educational campaigns and introduces initiatives in the workplace.

Any harm or damage that affects a staff member must be documented and reported to Human Resources and the OH&S Committee. Some injuries may become workers’ compensation claims.

Number of OH&S injuries and incidents 
Year 2011 / 12 2010 / 11  2009 / 10 2008 / 09 2007 / 08 2006 / 07 2005 / 06 2004 / 05
Injuries* 9 22 12 14 7 6 4 2
Incidents** 3 1 2 8 4 9 6 5

* An injury is where a person encounters physiological or psychological change as a result of an incident or hazard.

** An incident is an OH&S event that affects staff but does not result in physiological or psychological change. This includes near misses (for example, when a plywood sign falls from its mounting but does not hit a person) or when a person or process is impacted by a hazard (for example, when a person trips on a broken floor tile). It is important to note that the total number of incidents do not include injury numbers.

The reporting of injuries decreased in 2011/12. Three injuries resulted in new workers’ compensation claims. A total of 98.24 lost work days were recorded. All claims were made by females. The workers’ compensation claims were generally for medical and similar expenses for soft tissue injuries that required medical treatment.

OH&S training completed in 2011/12 
Policy and Procedure Training Training modules completed – per actual employee Total modules completed Training hours completed Total hours training completed Average hours per FTE
  Female Male Total Female Male Total  
OH&S Training 805 326 1131 419.5 163 582.5 1.97

All staff receive training in OH&S areas, both within their induction process and as an annual training requirement. Training includes general OH&S training, manual handling, office ergonomics and training specific to bankmecu OH&S processes and procedures. In 2011/12 staff undertook a total of 582.5 hours of OH&S specific training.

Rehabilitation

Part of bankmecu’s Occupational Rehabilitation Policy requires that, in the event of an accident, the Bank will endeavour to do its best to return staff to their full capacity within the organisation. If this is not possible, bankmecu will assist staff with vocational rehabilitation so that they may return to a meaningful role within their community. bankmecu utilises the services of an accredited rehabilitation provider to assist with this process where necessary.

Wellness

OH&S policies are also supported by a Wellness Policy, which outlines the subsidies provided to staff for health club memberships, assistance to quit smoking, loan assistance to purchase a bicycle, and annual public transport cards and the availability of free flu injections. The staff sustainability reference group, Footprints (volunteer staff sustainability reference group), promotes wellness initiatives throughout the year that are communicated to staff. These initiatives are enacted to improve the health and wellbeing of staff and to reduce unscheduled absenteeism throughout the year.

Unscheduled absenteeism at bankmecu 
Year Average number of unscheduled absentee days per employee (FTE) Total hours Total cost
($)
2011/12 6.9 15,599.61 412,211
2010/11 6.5 15,237.61 465,280
2009/10 5.9 14,014.38 397,847
2008/09 6.7 11,495.28 310,981
2007/08 6.1 8,788.50 210,997
2006/07 6.3 8,784.30 210,863
2005/06 6.7 9,689.40 230,694
2004/05 6.4 9,492.80 198,996

Despite bankmecu OH&S and wellbeing policies, staff suffer from various illnesses and injuries during the year. The table above outlines paid unscheduled absenteeism over the past eight years.

In addition, there were 1563.97 hours of unpaid unscheduled absenteeism in 2011/12. This increases the total average number of unscheduled absentee days to 6.93 per FTE.

The cost of unscheduled absences is affected by the seniority of a given staff member and their associated pay level.

Females accounted for 72 per cent of the total unscheduled leave taken. By region, 39 per cent of unscheduled leave was taken in Melbourne Metro, 34 per cent in Gippsland, 18 per cent in Western Victoria and 10 per cent interstate.

External support for employees

bankmecu has contracted Davidson Trahaire to provide an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). The EAP offers a professional confidential counselling service as well as education, training, prevention and risk control programs and necessary treatment options for employees and their immediate family members, which is paid for by bankmecu.

The average utilisation rate range for EAP is 3.69 per cent over the past eight years.

Annualised EAP utilisation as a per cent of staff numbers 
  01/07/11 to 30/06/12 01/07/2010 to 30/06/2011 01/07/2009 to 30/06/2010 01/07/2008 to 30/06/2009 01/03/2007 to 28/02/2008 01/03/2006 to 30/06/2007 01/03/2005 to 28/02/2006
Number of staff using EAP 12 19 11 9 4 16 9
Utilisation* (% of employees) 4.05 5.28 2.81 3.41 1.9 7.7 4.4

*Based on the total number of employees including Directors and staff on maternity leave or work cover.

EAP has been heavily promoted throughout the business via word of mouth. Voluntary feedback from employees who have utilised EAP services has been very positive.

Variances in the reporting timeframes for EAP periods listed in the table above exist due to changes in the format of data being received from the EAP provider over time.

As well as an EAP, bankmecu offers outplacement services to assist staff who are seeking continued employment after retrenchment or redundancy when required. These services encompass résumé writing, job search and interview skills, as well as vocational counselling.

Staff recognition program

In 2009, bankmecu developed a recognition program to acknowledge and reward those staff members who make a significant contribution towards bankmecu’s sustainable development.

bankmecu’s second Sustainability Superstar Awards took place in April 2011. All winners demonstrated a commitment to sustainability beyond ‘business as usual’ and were rewarded with a visit to the bankmecu Conservation Landbank and attendance at the Wimmera Biodiversity Seminar in September 2011.

The eight 2011 bankmecu Sustainability Superstars were:

  • Caroline Hardy, Senior Officer National Access, Kew
  • James Cornell, Senior IT Analyst, Kew
  • Tammie McDonald, Human Resources Consultant (Learning and Development), Kew
  • Derek de Vrieze, Community Banking Manager, Bendigo
  • Jacob Edwards, Manager Personal Banking Services, Kew
  • Monique Lloyd, Senior Customer Service Consultant, Castlemaine
  • Emily Jones, Member Service Consultant, Morwell
  • Judy Abernethy, Community Banking Manager, Brisbane
  • Rebekah Watson, Marketing Coordinator – Retention

bankmecu’s Sustainability Superstar Awards are supported by Allianz Australia Insurance Limited, which meets the costs of the program.

Employee volunteering and fundraising

bankmecu’s Community Support Policy outlines the Bank’s commitment and approach to community support through fundraising, payroll giving and support activities.

Fundraising at bankmecu

In 2011/12, bankmecu staff raised money for charities on a monthly basis through Casual Clothes Day. bankmecu staff were given the opportunity to participate in a survey to select non-government community organisations which are bankmecu customers. Throughout 2011/12 staff elected to support the following organisations:

Social and international communities
Women’s Domestic Violence Crisis Service www.wdvcs.org.au
State School Relief www.ssr.net.au
White Ribbon Day www.whiteribbonday.org.au
Big Issue www.thebigissue.org.au
Lifeline – Bendigo and Gippsland www.lifeline.org.au
Gippsland Asbestos Related Diseases Support Group Inc. www.gards.org
Child and Family Services www.cafs.org.au
Environment 
Australian Conservation Foundation www.acfonline.org.au
Trust for Nature www.trustfornature.org.au
Environment Victoria www.environmentvictoria.org.au
Science / Health
Petermac – Australasian Leukaemia and Lymphoma Group www.petermac.org/allg
International
Hopebuilders www.hopebuilders.org.au
Payroll giving

bankmecu staff have the option of donating to charities of their choice through payroll giving. Through this initiative, staff collectively raised $5,825 in 2011/12 for various charities.

Payroll giving
Charity Donation
($)
Beyond Blue 910
National Breast Cancer 155
Cancer Council 390
Make A Wish 130
Prostate Cancer 390
Royal Children’s 260
Ronald McDonald 130
RSPCA 585
Salvation Army 260
World Vision 2615
Grand Total 5825
Corporate support

In April 2012 bankmecu supported a four-person team in the Oxfam 100 km Trailwalker event held in Melbourne. The team raised $2200 for Oxfam. bankmecu contributed the $700 registration fee and $500 for expenses to support the team.

In June 2012 bankmecu contributed $3800 to support a staff member’s participation in the CUFA Leadership Challenge. Carly Law raised a total of $4673.99 towards the CUFA Children’s Financial Literacy Program targeting communities in Cambodia. Carly Law was also given the opportunity to participate in a bike ride through Cambodia to see first hand the work of CUFA. Download Carly’s Report

For more information about CUFA, visit: http://www.cufa.com.au/service/index.php

Other

Staff also undertake their own initiatives to support organisations the Bank is affiliated with, demonstrating staff commitment to bankmecu’s values.

Two groups of staff supported the CUFA Village Entrepreneurs Program in Cambodia with fortnightly donations:

  • Staff from the National Access Team donated a total of $444 in support of a mother who is trying to support and advance her family by developing a piggery. From all reports it is progressing well with the small profits from the business being invested back into the business or towards helping in her children’s education.
  • A second group of staff from across the organisation donated a total of $848 in support of two women who are using funds raised to support their business of selling chickens and second-hand goods respectively.
  • In addition, two staff members joined the Team Parkinson’s Challenge to support Parkinson’s Victoria, a bankmecu customer. The two staff members raised $14,000 collectively which went directly to supporting the work of Parkinson’s Victoria. The Challenge also included participation in a 13-day bike ride and volunteer program throughout regional India, which the staff members undertook during their annual leave.

Human rights

bankmecu is a signatory to UN Global Compact, which seeks to align business strategies with ten universally accepted principles, including the area of human rights.

All human rights issues are dealt with through bankmecu’s Human Resources policies, the National Employment Standards and the Banking, Finance and Insurance Award 2010. Areas covered by Human Resources policies include Equal Opportunity, Workplace Behaviour, Racial & Religious Tolerance, Affirmative Action, Anti-discrimination, Grievance Procedures, Acceptable Conduct, and Staff Charter. These policies ensure all current and future staff are treated equally and with dignity and respect, regardless of role, gender, race, colour, religion, political persuasion or sexual orientation.

Freedom of association

Staff have freedom to join the industry trade union should they wish to do so. bankmecu co-operates by deducting union dues from staff’s fortnightly salary, on request; and facilitating staff access to union representatives. In 2011/12 all employees were employed under the Banking, Finance and Insurance Award 2010.

Equal Employment (Diversity) based training completed in 2011/12 
Policy and procedure training Training modules completed – per actual employee Total modules completed Training hours completed Total hours training completed Average hours per FTE
  Female Male Total Female Male Total  
Equal employment opportunity training 230 96 326 230 96 326 1.10

Diversity-based training is a core annual requirement for all staff. In 2010/11 an online Bullying and Harassment training module was completed by staff. Separate modules were completed by non-supervisory and supervisory staff with the modules outlining the specific requirements at the differing levels. In 2011/12 an average of 1.10 hours per employee was spent completing training activities related to equal employment opportunity.

No incidents of discrimination were identified or reported in the 2011/12 period.

Grievance system

bankmecu’s Grievance Policy provides for and encourages access to representation, appeals and grievance systems as required.

Performance management

If a possible performance management violation occurs, it is reported to the relevant manager and the Human Resources department. An investigation is undertaken to determine the depth and reasons for the potential breach and the appropriate action to be taken as per bankmecu’s Acceptable Conduct Policy if required. Whenever a staff member is engaged in performance management, they are entitled to have a support person with them during all conversations with management.

All matters, whether they are related to a grievance, discrimination, harassment or performance management, are considered confidential.

Staff have access on the Company intranet to a fully documented process for dealing with performance management issues.

Indigenous people

All employees are considered equal and no specific guidelines and policies apply specifically to Indigenous people. Opportunities to increase Indigenous employment participation are part of a commitment to develop employee diversity. bankmecu has a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) developed in collaboration with Reconciliation Australia to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Workplace behaviour

bankmecu’s Workplace Behaviour Policy articulates the performance management process and how all staff can lodge formal or informal complaints for victimisation and vilification, harassment and bullying. As part of ongoing and formal training on behaviour in the workplace, bankmecu staff undertake an on-line bullying and harassment staff awareness test and simulation training every second year.

Investment grade credit rating

bankmecu will maintain a Standard & Poor’s credit rating of at least investment grade.

Standard & Poor’s credit rating

International rating agency Standard & Poor’s reaffirmed the Bank’s investment grade BBB+/Stable/A-2 credit rating. bankmecu was the first credit union and first customer-owned bank in Australia to have been issued with a rating.

The Standard & Poor’s report cited a number of factors, supporting a stable outlook for the Bank, including bankmecu’s sound management performance and strategy, very strong capital and earnings position and sound underwriting practices.

The rating reinforces the underlying strength in bankmecu’s customer-owned approach to responsible low-risk lending, continued commitment to strong earnings performance and maintaining strong capital.

Integrated reporting

bankmecu will continue to develop effective reporting to its stakeholders about its performance against its strategic plan including its economic, social and environmental impacts.

bankmecu will ensure reporting is of value to them and meets their expectations.

Integrated reporting

bankmecu has demonstrated its strong commitment to sustainability reporting. Accuracy, transparency and accountability are fundamental to communicating performance on material issues of importance to stakeholders. Nevertheless, bankmecu believes the true value of reporting is yet to be realised.

bankmecu aims to better integrate reporting of financial and non-financial performance against business strategy. It should report concisely, accurately and materially. Its reporting should provide an even clearer context for performance data, clarify how sustainability fits into the business and make the case clear as to why all businesses – and in particular all mutually owned financial institutions – should embed sustainability into their decision making.

This year bankmecu’s main focus towards developing its approach to integrated reporting is in aligning its reporting structure and content with its business strategy. This will assist report how bankmecu creates and distributes shared value to its customers and other stakeholders. Further, it will help articulate the case for being a cooperative enterprise.

Refer to Annual Report 2012 Structure 

Stakeholder feedback on bankmecu’s sustainability strategy and the 2010/11 report

To assist it develop its 2011/12 Annual Report, bankmecu provided the opportunity for stakeholders visiting bankmecu’s website to offer their feedback by completing a Sustainability Strategy and Reporting Survey on-line.

The purpose of the questionnaire was to ascertain the views of key bankmecu stakeholders with respect to bankmecu’s 2010/11 Sustainability Report and sustainability performance. The questionnaire addressed the requirements of the AA1000 Assurance Standard.

Thirteen stakeholders contributed to the survey between 30 September 2011 and 2 July 2012, compared to thirty-seven stakeholders last year. Of interest, two respondents were from the media.

Sustainability strategy

All respondents rated their understanding of bankmecu’s core business as moderate to very high and the majority rated their interest in bankmecu’s sustainability related activities as high. However, respondents rated their level of influence over the bankmecu’s sustainability related activities as very low. Similarly, the 2012 Customer Insights survey highlighted customer interest in participation. Customers’ responses highlighted that they are mostly interested in Board/Executive decisions, information that helps them better understand their finances, and information about where the Bank is investing their money. In response, bankmecu is considering ways in which it can satisfy customers’ needs for information across a variety of platforms including paper, web and mobile communications.

The majority of respondents rated bankmecu’s sustainability performance across all measures between average to very good, and the adequacy of sustainability-related communication from bankmecu as average to good.

The majority of respondents also rated bankmecu as performing equal to or better than other financial institutions on its sustainability performance.

Key risks and opportunities identified by respondents included risks or opportunities relating to being a good corporate citizen and influencing others, and the risk to customer benefit through potentially misguided investment in environmental and social initiatives.

The issues considered most included:

  • product development to enable customers to reduce their environmental impact
  • performance-reporting on targets
  • demutualisation
  • customer service
  • advocacy in the business community to address climate change
  • regulation compliance

Other comments related to improving customer service and the survey itself.

Feedback from the Sustainability Strategy and Reporting Survey on-line is fed into bankmecu’s annual materiality assessment.

Annual Report

Questions relating to the Annual Report received a low response rate, with the majority of questions only answered by one respondent. The majority of answers were positive with regards to all aspects of the report.

Of particular note, where two respondents answered, they would both like to see the Annual Report in on-line report format only.

Annual Report readers

bankmecu aims to ensure the content of this report is of material importance and that it is inclusive, responsive and transparent.

bankmecu believes readers of its Annual Report to be individuals with an interest in bankmecu’s approach to sustainable business practice, including:

  • customers/shareholders
  • employees
  • suppliers
  • regulators
  • potential customers
  • communities of interest
  • media
  • political leaders; and
  • mutual banking sector peers.

Engagement with the above stakeholder groups throughout the year helped determine the content of this report.

Determining the content of the report

bankmecu has made a series of commitments to sustainable development. These commitments together with bankmecu’s business strategy and stakeholder engagement activities help determine the content of this report. bankmecu also utilises the mostly widely recognised and internationally accepted reporting framework, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRl), to assist in determining content in line with best practice.

bankmecu’s participation in the International Integrated Reporting Council pilot program is also assisting the Bank’s approach towards a more integrated report.

As required by law, bankmecu provides statutory accounts data which supports the Annual Report. This section includes data that is mandatory under regulation. All GRI indicators previously used have been maintained.

Materiality assessment

bankmecu conducted an internal review to identify its material issues. This included reviewing the findings of the Sustainability Report and Sustainability Strategy Survey, Customer Insight Survey, Staff Organisational Survey, Board Annual Risk Assessment and other stakeholder engagement activities. For information on other stakeholder engagement activities conducted by bankmecu to assist its materiality assessment, visit

Senior management used the AccountAbility 5-part materiality test to determine which material issues were the most important to ensure the sustainability of bankmecu operations. This required balancing stakeholder concerns with the needs of the Bank to maintain its values and value approach to banking and performance excellence.

Material issues identified 
Material issues identified bankmecu’s response
Purpose, position and brand – responsible banking

Goal one: Achieve vision

Responsible banking bankmecu is signatory to UNEP FI, UN Global Compact, UN Principles for Responsible Investment and has further strengthened its commitment to responsible banking by accepting an invitation to become a member of the Global Alliance Banking on Values in 2012.
Help customers make more informed decisions about banking. In 2011/12 bankmecu developed a plan to establish and communicate the brand effectively. Implementing the plan will be a focus in the future.
Reputation – pre-eminent customer-owned banking

Goal two: leadership in customer-owned banking

Integrated reporting bankmecu is participating in the International Integrated Reporting Council pilot program to integrate traditional financial reporting with environmental, social and governance reporting. This will assist demonstrate how the business creates value long term.
bankmecu’s Conservation Landbank

bankmecu has appointed Landcare Australia to project manage bankmecu’s Conservation Landbank. Trust for Nature oversees the quality of conservation and revegetation work on site. A fourth property was purchased in 2011/12, bringing the total Conservation Landbank area to 761 hectares.

bankmecu has engaged with Greening Australia to conduct a carbon and cost benefit analysis for current and future investment in carbon and biodiversity offsetting.

Sustainable housing design bankmecu is engaging with the sustainable housing design sector. bankmecu aims to become the preferred source of finance for sustainably designed housing in Australia.
Social issues within the community. bankmecu continues to provide low-cost lending and support for non-government organisations (NGOs). bankmecu also addresses relevant social issues through a Community Investment Program.
Capacity to deliver via skilled work force. bankmecu continues to invest in employee development.
Customer participation bankmecu continues to engage with customers to increase their participation in the Bank they own.
Maintenance of internal culture engagement bankmecu maintains a high level of staff satisfaction through training, treatment of employees and staff engagement. The new on-line sustainability and brand training is helping to instil bankmecu culture into new staff.
Improving supply chain / supplier performance / strategic investments

bankmecu developed a supply chain management system in 2011 to improve purchasing practices.

bankmecu works towards ensuring ESG issues are part of strategic investment decisions and encourage organisations already invested in to report on ESG performance.

Target market customers

Goal three: increase market share amongst chosen target markets

Ageing customers / new customers bankmecu monitors the age profile of its customers and recognises the importance of strategies to both retain existing customers and attract younger customers.
Potential customers In 2011/12 bankmecu developed a plan to establish and communicate the brand effectively. This included identifying target market groups for the future.
Customer benefit: value and values

Goal four: deliver customer benefit

Impacts of housing / cars / lending Product development to minimise environmental impacts and social circumstances.
Operational impacts bankmecu has developed and implemented an Environmental Management System (EMS).
Becoming carbon neutral bankmecu undertook energy reduction measures in 2011/12, reduced the number of service centres and purchased offsets equivalent to operational greenhouse gases emitted during the 2010/11 year. bankmecu has engaged with Greening Australia to conduct a carbon and cost benefit analysis for current and future investment in carbon offsetting.
Customer benefit

bankmecu operates for the benefit of its customers who also own the Bank.

bankmecu engages Canstar Cannex to determine customer benefit.

Economic and social impact of a higher cost of living bankmecu continues to provide value through socially responsible product offering and responsible lending and investment practices. Canstar Cannex  indicates competitive customer benefit.
Competition (particularly for retail deposits) Canstar Cannex  indicates competitive customer benefit.
Governance – customer accountability and participation

Goal five: excellence in governance

Regulation compliance and legal bankmecu has embedded a compliance culture across its organisation and complies with all relevant regulations and laws.
Board renewal bankmecu is undertaking a Board renewal process. Three new Directors were appointed in 2012.
Risk management bankmecu maintains a risk register and has appropriate risk management framework policies and procedures.
Performance reporting bankmecu produces an Annual Report which is relevant, transparent and accountable.
Profitability and productivity – effective, efficient and sustainable

Goal six: deliver profitability and productivity

Delivering on our planning matrix bankmecu developed a new 2012–2017 strategy. Its business strategy aims to deliver on the Bank’s planning matrix.
On-line service delivery and communication bankmecu is working towards improving on-line service delivery.
Sustainable growth

Goal seven: grow assets to $3.7 billion by 2017

Scale / reach bankmecu sets organic growth targets and has undertaken strategic mergers to increase scale and reach for the benefit of customers.
Growth bankmecu developed a new 2012–2017 strategy which aims to deliver sustainable growth.

Issues of material importance are reflected in bankmecu’s Annual Report.

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