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Connexus : Issue 42
On the front foot The battle for balance touches most aspects of life; and banking is no different. In this edition of Connexus, we explore in detail the Abacus Balance Banking campaign and how it is underpinning our lobbying for the mutual banking sector in a busy election year. The Abacus Balance Banking campaign pushes our issues to the forefront of media and public debate on banking competition, caught the attention of politicians, and provided an attention-grabbing point of difference in a crowded election year. Abacus is a strong voice for the customer owned banking sector and "Balance Banking" aims to keep the pressure up on our priority mutual issues. As I write, the next stage of activity will literally be on the road. The Balance Banking bus is touring regional towns, frstly in New South Wales, visiting key seats where local communities know our model well and support us. This next phase of visibility and local community engagement will give a platform to our “election asks” this year. The issue of multi-branding is one that has struck a chord. Our commissioned research, which kicked off the Balance Banking campaign, highlighted a real gap in consumer knowledge on this issue. We're not against the concept of multi-branding but, as our member CEOs say in these pages, there's a clear issue when consumers want to avoid a big bank, then end up with them in another guise. Associated with multi-branding is the issue of what to do with organisations like Banksia, that do not meet the same strict regulatory regime that we do. When ‘shadow banking' goes bad, it is illustrated by some of the horrible stories to emerge after the Banksia collapse, where people lost life savings; a scenario that could have been avoided. On a brighter note, I encourage you to read a special report on our members and their insights in regional Australia. Our local institutions have strong community support from their customers and you can really see that through the community investments that local credit unions, building societies and mutual banks make in these towns. Across the board we are recognised for our market- leading approach to better value banking products and customer ser vice. This year will be a challenging one again but there is plenty of upside, including the competitive and customer- driven offering we present as a united industry. I hope you enjoy the frst edition of Connexus in 2013. The iPad version includes Balance Banking video footage and other extended inter views and features which I hope you can download and enjoy. Louise Petschler, CEO, Abacus CEO comment Across the board we are recognised for our market- leading approach to better value banking products and customer service. www.abacus.org.au 7