The chairman of the Hunter-based Greater Building Society says the strong financial result reported at its annual general meeting earlier this week is good news for its customers and the community.
Wayne Russell says The Greater’s $34.95 million after tax profit will be invested back into improved products and services as well as community organisations, not into the pockets of shareholders as is the case with the big banks.
Wayne says CEO Scott Morgan and his team have delivered strong operating results and increased assets by 6.2% to $5.4 billion. He says the 11% increase in profit is due to continued focus on cost reduction as well as doing things simpler and smarter.
Customer satisfaction was as high as 97% during the year. The Greater took out the national Roy Morgan Customer Satisfaction Award for Best Building Society for the second year in a row.
“We’ve achieved great results but kept customer’s satisfied with outstanding service, very competitive rates and fees low,” Wayne says.
He is happy with modest loan growth of 2.2% given the highly competitive environment.
“Lending growth strengthened in the second half of 2014/15 with net loan approval numbers at their highest since 2011,” he continued.
“We consciously grew deposits (up 6.2%), to put us in good stead to drive stronger lending in 2015/16.”
The Greater allocated $1.2M this year to the Greater Charitable Foundation, which supports charities in the Greater’s area of operations. This takes the amount invested in to the Foundation to more than $7 million since it was established in 2011. More than 280 staff volunteered for one of the Foundation’s charity partners during the year.
“Our solid profit result shows we’re a strong, well-managed financial institution.”
“The good news for our customers is that our profits go back to them or the community, not into the pockets of shareholders.”
Wayne says The Greater’s Board has developed a new, five pillar strategy to continue to improve organisational efficiency and sustainably grow its customer base.
“We didn’t follow the big banks and some other lenders in increasing rates earlier this month, making our rates even better by comparison.”
“We need more people to realise that The Greater is safe, strong and has the products of the big banks and that switching to us is much easier than they think.”