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New face of banking sees increase in switching
A new face in banking is launched today—and on its first day as Teachers Mutual Bank, the former Teachers Credit Union confirms that it has seen a growing shift of customers away from the big banks, towards the mutual sector.
The trend has been acknowledged in mutual banking circles since the big four banks poke ranks with the RBA interest rate cycle late last year.
“Our refinance applications are currently the highest they’ve been in 12 months,” said Steve James, CEO of Teachers Mutual Bank.
“There was a very significant increase in mortgagees switching to Teachers (now) Mutual Bank from December to January, and this has been sustained with a 21% increase from January to February. While March figures are not yet available, the signs are similarly strong.”
The mutual banking model is profit and growth oriented, but reinvests those profits back into savings and benefits for members.
Better rates and better service are the key reasons customers are on the move from the big four banks, according to Teachers Mutual Bank’s internal polling.
“Our internal polling showed that the people who switched to us were not only looking for a better deal, particularly in light of major bank interest rate increases; they were also looking for more personal service and attention. They told of their experiences at the major banks, being shuffled around the call centre any time they had a query, or kept waiting on hold for long periods,” said Steve James.
And in a further endorsement of its service standards, Teachers Credit Union (as it was then named) achieved the highest score—93.2%—in the latest Roy Morgan Bank Satisfaction Survey for February 2012.
“As Teachers Mutual Bank we will continue to be dedicated to improving the financial health and wellbeing of members,” said Steve James.
“As a mutual bank we will deliver more choice and competition against the major banks. Mutual banking values are about achieving profitability and sustainability that isn’t at the expense of members.”
Teachers Mutual Bank members are handled by a nominated team throughout the whole home loan process, who are dedicated to providing personal attention and meeting that member’s needs.
Teachers Mutual Bank member Helen of Collaroy said, “I was dissatisfied with my previous big bank—it was always a hassle dealing with them, and I just felt like a number. When I got on to Teachers (now) Mutual Bank, the interest rates were good, and I was surprised at how many services and products they offered—just the same as the banks. I got a good deal too—fewer fees, better rates than my previous bank.”
“But the best thing of all was, I felt looked after whenever I dealt with them. Members of my family had the same experience—I wouldn’t go anywhere else now.”
Teachers Mutual Bank was previously the third largest credit union in Australia, and the largest credit union to become a mutual bank. With over 155,000 members, it currently has $3.8 billion in assets. In the 2010/2011 financial year its after tax profit was $29.14 million. Profit for the half year to December (unaudited) was $11.9m.