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PRESS RELEASE

 

A local customer owned financial institution achieved a 50 percent increase in new lending last financial year which it says was assisted by customers in the Hunter Region refinancing their loans from the big banks.

Hunter United has released its annual results ahead of its AGM to be held in November.

CEO Tim Blomfield said the credit union is in a strong financial position. Pre-tax surplus is up by 8.2 per cent to $422,390, total assets increased by 9 per cent to just over $303 million and total lending assets are up by 13.5 per cent. Deposits grew by 9.3 per cent.

Mr Blomfield said growth of 49.7 per cent in new lending was achieved by focusing on the traditional heartland of the Hunter, now accounting for 90 per cent of the credit union’s members, up from 85 per cent a year ago. He said 60 per cent of new customers were sourced via digital channels.

“The results have been achieved whilst maintaining a conservative approach to lending, operating well within APRA guidelines,” Mr Blomfield said.

“We’re delighted to be welcoming more Hunter people to our customer owned way of banking,” he said.

“The results are particularly pleasing, and a credit to our local staff, considering the challenging economic environment (low inflation, low real wage growth and record low interest rates), sector wide regulatory lending restrictions and intense competition.”

“Our focus on superior personalised service, attractive products and interest rates, new technology and some quirky digital marketing campaigns are being appreciated by existing and new members.”

He said in the last financial year, Hunter United launched a new website, online access to more accounts, and digitised all documents and forms. Increased digital marketing has proved effective and the use of social media supported, with 28 per cent of members responding to digital contact, as compared to an industry average of between three and five per cent.

Looking ahead, Mr Blomfield said the Board will continue to look for merger opportunities that were in the best interests of its members and staff.

“The financial services sector is transforming rapidly and smaller financial institutions must look for partnering opportunities to protect our customer-owned way of banking to benefit members.”

Mr Blomfield said Hunter United continued to support local community organisations including Hunter Breast Cancer Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis, Jeans for Genes, Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea and the Cancer Council. The credit union, which has its origins in BHP steelworks, this year renewed its support for the Newcastle Industrial Heritage Association (NIHA) for a further five years.

Hunter United offers customer owned banking services to around 9,000 members. It has 36 staff and 6 branches in the Hunter.

Media information: Tim Blomfield on 0414 929 467. Hunterunited.com.au. View financial results here.

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