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Newsletter July 2020

As a member-owned bank, it’s important that we keep you up-to-date with the latest information, ranging from what’s critical for you to know, to what we’ve been up to in the community. Below is your latest newsletter for the most recent quarter. Enjoy the read!

 

From the CEOs desk

 

At the close of the financial year, it is time to reflect on our performance - not only in respect of financial results, but also how Queensland Country has helped our Members live better lives by helping them achieve their financial goals and supporting our communities.

Our financial results will soon be finalised and reported in the coming months. Not surprisingly, results for FY20 will be a little below expectations due to the impacts of COVID-19. However, given the extraordinary times we are experiencing, I am pleased with where Queensland Country Bank has ended the year. We are in a strong financial position which is demonstrated by the measures we were able to put in place to assist Members impacted by COVID-19. We now have a little under 700 Members who have utilised the loan repayment holiday and around 600 Health Fund Members who have suspended their policy for six months. I am pleased that we have been able to provide this assistance, and humbled by the many positive comments that we have received from our Members.

I also wish to recognise and thank our staff. When we look at the impacts that COVID-19 has had in many countries around the world, it’s hard not to think that the situation could have been considerably worse in Australia. Throughout the pandemic, our staff have continued to bring their best to work each day guided by our values of being genuine and putting people first.

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Read on for the full quarter in review

Over the next month our friendly staff will be making personal contact with all of our Members under hardship arrangements to check in and see if they want to continue with the arrangements or make some further changes. Over the past month we have also seen a strong shift in sentiment from Government and therefore our communities in relation to COVID-19. There has been much more commentary about ways we can start returning to normal, which like many businesses, I am keen to see happen. Providing that we all follow government and health advice, I am confident that returning to a new normal will be achievable.

Although there has been much disruption to the second half of the financial year, the first half saw successful progress of some of our key projects which included our transition to a member-owned bank, launching our new brand, development of our small business banking capability and pursuing an external credit rating. These are all significant projects that will contribute to us becoming a more sophisticated financial institution that is better equipped to meet the needs of consumers in the future. Earlier, this year we were also granted the naming rights to Townsville’s new Stadium. Becoming the first naming rights partner for the North Queensland built stadium is a unique opportunity and will provide extensive exposure for the Queensland Country brand over the next six years. As part of our transition to a bank, it’s pleasing to see that rebranding of our locations is almost finished with only a few locations remaining. By now, I’m sure you have also seen our staff proudly wearing their new uniforms.

You may already be aware that Bruno Cullen, one of our long serving Directors and the previous Chairman of our organisation, was announced by the Governor-General as the recipient of an Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday honours list in June. Bruno was awarded the AM for “significant service to the banking and credit union sector, to rugby league, and to the community.” The award recognised the extensive contributions Bruno has made to the Credit Union industry generally and to Queensland Country Credit Union (now Bank) specifically and for his contribution to communities throughout Queensland particularly in rural and regional areas. We are extremely proud of Bruno’s achievement.

I’m also proud to announce that in May, our organisation was recognised within the Finance Industry for the great things we strive to deliver for our Members. For the second consecutive year, our Pension Plus account has achieved a “5 Star Rating for Deposit Accounts” from independent ratings organisation Canstar. In addition, we also received Canstar’s”Innovation Excellence Award”, which I am very proud to say is in recognition of our signature SmartBudget account. This award acknowledges our SmartBudget account for how this product assists Members to achieve a better quality of life.

Setting the budget for the coming year does look a little different from previous years but be assured that our Board and Executives have strategies in place that will ensure your bank remains strong and I look forward to reporting to you on the Bank’s progress throughout that time.

I would like to finish by acknowledging Christine Flynn, an existing Director who has recently been appointed by the Board as the new Chairperson for Queensland Country Bank. Christine has a wealth of experience as a Director and was previously the Chair of Queenslanders Credit Union. I look forward to working closely with Christine as we continue to deliver great value banking to Members.

Aaron Newman

Chief Executive Officer

Further updates

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COVID-19 Update

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Queensland Country has offered support to Members in several ways to help ease the financial pressures the situation has brought on many of us.

We are proud to have been able to help 670 Members (to date) during a time of need, who requested a repayment holiday on their loan repayments as a result of having decreased income since the start of the pandemic.  A dedicated Hardship Management team has been formed as a result of the pandemic to assist with Member requests and concerns during this testing time.

While every Member’s circumstances are considered individually, our Emergency Relief Package is available during declared emergencies and can be viewed here.

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Fees update

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have taken the opportunity to review a number of the fees we charge. 

For three months from March 2020, Members who were previously receiving an Account Service Fee waiver on their All Access Account continued to have the $6 Monthly Service Fee waived, regardless of whether they met the usual requirement of having a $1,000 salary credit paid into their account during the month. We also waived the Over Limit Fee on credit cards, overdrafts and lines of credit for the same three months.

In addition to these temporary fee waivers, from 1 July 2020 the Overdrawn Account Interest Charge* will be removed entirely on all accounts. We continue to work to provide Members with a fair fee structure that delivers value to you.

We continue to work to provide Members with a fair fee structure that delivers value to you.

*Other Fees and Charges may apply. Please refer to our Fees and Charges brochure for full details.

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New look same familiar faces

Queensland Country has evolved recently, from a Credit Union to a Bank, but the same friendly faces and Member focused service remains.

Of late, you will have noticed not only your local branch rebranded but our staff sporting fresh new uniforms – and don’t they look great! Each team will have a combination of orange, grey, black and a unique pattern uniform on display when you next pop in.

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Tips for immediate access to your tax refund

Providing your account details when you lodge your tax return enables you to receive any refunds. Simply quote your BSB and account number on your tax return. If you’re entitled to a refund, the funds will be deposited directly into your account. The funds are cleared and you can access them straight away.

Tip – Give your savings a boost by transferring your refund into a Christmas Club or Online Saver account instead of spending it.

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Call for nominations for Director

A Call for Nominations for Director will be available to Members on the website and in branches on Wednesday, 29 July 2020, for two (2) positions on our Board which become vacant at the 2020 Annual General Meeting. Nominations will close at 5.00pm on Friday, 4 September 2020.

New Chair at Queensland Country Bank

15 May 2020

Our newly elected Queensland Country Bank Board Chair, Christine Flynn sees the top priorities as successfully navigating the organisation through the Coronavirus pandemic and retaining a commitment to regional communities. Read on to find out more.

Reminder of BSB and right set off