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Hunter United’s Strong Results Reveal a Growing Alternative to Big Banks



The head of a local, customer owned financial institution says another strong set of annual results shows people are responding to alternatives to the Big 4 to meet their banking needs.

Hunter United today released its 2017/18 results ahead of its November AGM.

CEO Tim Blomfield said lending and deposits for the Hunter based mutual are up again due to locals switching from the big banks. In the last financial year, total lending assets rose by 8 per cent while deposits grew by 9 per cent. Total assets also grew by 9 per cent to almost $330m. He said with capital adequacy above 16 per cent, the credit union remains very safe and secure.

This growth has delivered a 27 per cent increase in net profit to $536,000.

Mr Blomfield said because Hunter United doesn’t have shareholders, those profits will continue to be reinvested to benefit members.

Last financial year’s “reinvestment” saw the introduction of a new branch format for Hunter United in the Stockland Greenhills Shopping Centre which included a self-serve teller infinity machine, the first of its kind in the region.

Other reinvestment in technology puts Hunter United ahead of some larger financial institutions. It joined the New Payments Platform (NPP) during the year, enabling it to offer real time payments to its members via Osko and PayID.

He said Hunter United is emerging as an innovator in digital banking and marketing despite not having the budgets of other local lenders and the big banks.

“Online loan enquiries and social media engagement with members continues to rise,” Mr Blomfield said.

“We have 30 per cent of members interacting with us on social media, a figure well above the big banks and other local financial institutions,” he said.

While technology plays an important role in banking to meet customer’s changing needs, Mr Blomfield said it is Hunter United’s local staff who provide its biggest point of difference.

“Last year we invested more into staff development with a third of all staff involved in externally recognised training programs.”

Hunter United is a Hunter-based business and is focused on serving local people.

Customer experience is central to all our interactions, not a platitude.

We exist to serve our members and that’s why they’re so loyal to us.

The proportion of Hunter-based customers rose again this year and they now account for more than 90 per cent of members.

The Royal Commission has helped us by shining a spotlight on some of the poor behaviour by larger financial institutions.

Customers are rightly disappointed, yet the dominance of the Big 4 remains with people generally being slow to switch.

That’s why these results are so pleasing, especially given the intense banking competition in this region.

We thank our members for choosing us and will continue to reward them with competitive rates, reinvestment back into the business, and exceptional customer service.

Looking ahead, Mr Blomfield said further digital improvements will be rolled out including a website upgrade and a new online portal for members to manage account activity.

The phase out of its own ATMs will continue except for its drive thru ATM at Broadmeadow.

Hunter United continued to be there for the local community through support of Newcastle Industrial Heritage Association, Hunter Breast Cancer Foundation, Newcastle Pink Ribbon Ride, Lambton Park Christmas Carols, Cystic Fibrosis, Jeans for Genes, Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea and the Cancer Council.

Hunter United offers customer owned banking services to around 9,000 members. It has 35 staff and six branches in the Hunter.

Media information:Tim Blomfield on 0414 929 467 or Craig Eardley on 0437 477 493.

Please see our financial results here

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