by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Connexus : Issue 36
Marketing coup Perhaps the biggest marketing coup for mutuals has been federal treasurer Wayne Swan's comments urging the public to vote with their feet, and positioning building societies and credit unions as a "fifth pillar" of banking. "There's no question that, when the deputy prime minister comes out and says to consumers that the banks' behaviour is not acceptable and they should take their business elsewhere, it does have an impact," says Degotardi. "You couldn't buy that media," says Peter Evers, managing director of Australian Central Savings & Loans, of the endorsements from Swan and other politicians. However, the positive message has been tempered somewhat by a government banking reform package that to date has been "a bit under whelming". "The build-up had intimated a far stronger level of support, particularly around availability and cost of funding to allow us to compete on a more level playing field," says Evers. "And that message has been pushed back to gover nment quite st rongly, directly and through Abacus." KPMG banking partner Martin McGrath says recent results for mutuals have been terrific, but he questions the government's use of the term "fifth pillar" to describe the sector. "In terms of size, credit unions aren't a fifth pillar by any stretch of the imagination," he says. "But every Australian can go to a credit union for a deposit or home loan, and they've been getting a good push along in terms of who they are and what they are. It has been good for their credibility in the market." Evers says sustainability is now the key for mutuals. "We have to be careful we don't make too much noise about a short-term increase." But he's in no doubt that more consumers are looking to abandon the major banks. From January to early March, his Adelaide-based credit union ran a campaign urging the public to "break out of your bank". It offered product incentives and bounced off the media debate about banking competition. It has had the desired effect. "We're not talking about tens of thousands of people running in, because most people are apathetic about their banking relationship and change itonlyiftheyhaveanewneedora disrupted relationship," says Evers. "But, over time, we expect it to be more ingrained in people's minds that there is choice out there." IMB in Wollongong, NSW, reports a marked rise in customers considering refinancing. "There's been increased interest and switching, but on top of that we have been growing quite steadily anyway," says chief executive Robert Ryan. He attributes the strong performance to good service and outstanding product offers. IMB has been offering a standard variable interest rate lower than those of the big banks for at least two years. He says the banks don't even come close to IMB's customer satisfaction rating of 96 per cent. CUA net profit after tax for the first half of 2010-11 (an increase of 8% on the same period last year) $21.6million FEATURE FUNDING connexus www.abacus.org.au 28 "...in dollar terms, the amount of borrowing from new customers in January was four times what it was in January last year." -- Greater Building Society chief executive Don Magin