Newsletter Web Cover Image 840x420_FA.jpg

July 2022

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. Grab a cuppa, and enjoy the read!

 

10585_QC_From_the_CEOs_Desk_Website_Banner_1200x200_FA.jpg

The environment we operate in continues to change, and we have seen significant developments in the past quarter that have had an impact on our Members, communities, and the organisation.

Toggle Item

Read on for the full quarter in review

One of the most notable developments has been the rapid rise in inflation to 6 percent and the subsequent increases in the official cash rate - the first increases by the Reserve Bank in more than 10 years. This has flowed through to an increase in loan rates for the banking sector, including Queensland Country, and has triggered renewed concerns regarding cost-of-living pressures. It has also enabled us to increase deposit rates, which will be a welcome development for many of our Members who are living off their investments in retirement.

The tragedy of the Ukraine conflict continues to unfold and has ramifications across the world both from a humanitarian perspective and an economic one, resulting in renewed concerns about major economies falling into recession.

In spite of the significant uncertainty these changes and events have created, both our Bank and Health Fund businesses have enjoyed strong performances this financial year and are well positioned to continue this success. People living in Queensland are better positioned than most to manage cost of living increases given the lower property values and therefore levels of debt relative to the rest of the country.

Significant change has also taken place inside our organisation. We have recently expanded our presence in our communities with the announcement that we will open a lending centre in Maroochydore on the Sunshine Coast this month.

Queensland Country has a goal to become a genuine business bank. We commenced this journey two years ago and have made considerable progress, including the recruitment of talented and experienced people to help us achieve this goal. We have developed the banking products we offer as well as developing our people. We want to ensure our staff can support all the requirements of businesspeople, which includes deposit and transaction products, merchant services, digital services and online banking.

We have seen our major competitors consolidate their service to metropolitan areas, and in some respects move away from providing face-to-face service for businesspeople. We believe having business banking managers on the ground in regional areas who have discretion to support the needs of businesspeople will provide an important service in our communities. With 28 branches across the state, we are well placed to support businesspeople with their day-to-day banking needs. We currently have two business banking managers based in Townsville and have recently appointed new business banking managers in both Mackay and Cairns, with further expansion planned.

We have been awarded a Mozo Experts Choice Award for our Ultimate Home Loan Package, which demonstrates the excellent value our home loan products offer. I am sure this has contributed to the record lending result that has been achieved this financial year, with more than $550 million in new loans issued to help our Members purchase houses and cars, and make investments in their business.

As mentioned in the previous newsletter, we are transitioning to a new BSB number and have started the process of issuing new debit and credit cards to Members. We know these changes will cause a temporary inconvenience, but the benefits will enable us to reduce banking and transactional fees, provide more digital capability via the mobile app, and deliver payments to and from our bank in seconds. Thank you for your patience as we make these changes to become a more advanced digital bank.

Giving back to the communities that support us is a key priority. One of the ways we do this is by providing community grants across the state to not-for-profit clubs and associations, and we have donated more than $2.5 million in grants over the past two decades. The next round of community grant applications is now open, and we look forward to supporting more initiatives that benefit our communities.

Important changes ahead

Toggle Item

Important changes ahead

There is a significant project underway to improve our banking services for Members into the future.

To enable these improvements, Queensland Country is transitioning to a new BSB number. This will pave the way for us to bring you a more superior banking experience, with benefits such as:

  • Better ways to manage your cards in the banking app and internet banking
  • More digital wallet options
  • Increased access to real time transfers to and from other banks
  • New loyalty rewards program
  • Numerous fee reductions

When it’s time to move to the new BSB, we will request your cooperation with updating all regular payments to and from your accounts (such as wages and direct debits).

Our new Members who joined Queensland Country after 2 May are already using the new BSB, but existing Members are not required to do anything just yet. We will write to each of you individually over the coming months with everything you need to know.

We acknowledge this will take effort on your behalf, and we will ensure sufficient time is provided to make these adjustments. We will do everything we can to support you, including working with some larger businesses and organisations to make these changes on your behalf.

In addition to the new BSB, all Queensland Country debit and credit cards are being replaced with new cards that work a little differently. We have already written to some Members and will continue to progressively send out new cards over the next few months.

We are absolutely committed to supporting our Members through these changes and have taken a number of steps to prepare, including:

  • Employing additional contact centre staff
  • Extending our contact centre opening hours
  • Up-skilling existing team members
  • Assigning dedicated specialists across the branch network
  • Ensuring our teams complete their own banking changes, so they understand first-hand how to best assist you

While no action is required from you at this stage, you are of course welcome to reach out with any questions, or you can view the latest project information on our dedicated web page - queenslandcountry.bank/improvements.

Thank you for your ongoing support as we build a better banking future for us all.

The future is green

Toggle Item

The future is green

A range of environmental initiatives have been introduced at Queensland Country in the quest for a more sustainable future.

From creating new products that reward green purchasing decisions, to reducing carbon emissions and waste, CEO Aaron Newman said that evolving the business was an absolute priority.

“As a member-owned organisation, we have always been committed to our local communities and this of course extends to the environment in which we live,” he said.

“Sustainability is a key issue of our time, and our focus is to simply do good in the world.”

Queensland Country’s Green Car Loan has generated a lot of interest with Members since its introduction late last year.

It offers the bank’s best car loan interest rate for the purchase of new or demo green vehicles, such as electric and plug-in hybrids and other vehicles that do not exceed 120 grams of carbon dioxide emissions per kilometre.

It also allows an additional 10% of the initial loan value to be borrowed to fund charging technology.

The Green Reno Loan is another new product designed to support Members to make planet-friendly financial decisions.

With an interest rate significantly lower than the bank’s standard Reno Loan, it is available for the purchase and installation of energy efficient home improvements.

These could include solar panels, solar or heat pump hot water systems, insulation, battery packs, at-home electric vehicle charging stations or double-glazed windows.

Mr Newman said that beyond offering products that encourage others to minimise their carbon footprint, Queensland Country was making significant changes to the way they do business.

“Our team is passionate about making a difference, so we now have a full-time Sustainability Manager to deliver our environmental strategy, and we have consulted with all staff about the areas they want to see us improve,” he said.

“We are leading the way with our fleet vehicles, transitioning them all to electric/hybrid at the end of each lease, and have transformed our existing recycling program across all branches and offices.

“Energy efficiency is now a key consideration in all new material purchases, and we will continue our ongoing sponsorship of events and projects that pave the way for a greener future.

“These are just the first steps, and we are committed to doing more to help manage the effects of climate change and support the transition to a low-carbon economy.

“We hope our Members will join us on this journey, as small steps by many can achieve lasting change.”

Terms, conditions, fees and lending criteria apply on all loans.

 

Next round of community grants now open

Toggle Item

Next round of community grants now open

Community groups from across the state are being encouraged to throw their hat in the ring to receive a share of $100,000 in funding, with applications now open for the 2022 Queensland Country Good for Good Community Grants.

Magnetic Island Koala Hospital was one of last year’s grant recipients, receiving $10,000 to continue providing gold standard hospital care to local wildlife.

Veterinarian Alison Bee said the funding received would be put towards the expansion of a larger clinic, assisting the hospital to accommodate their ever-increasing annual patient admission rate.

“Our current clinical facilities have become stretched to their limits,” Dr Bee said.

“Since we treat, rehabilitate and care for the animals, we rely heavily on grants, so we are very thankful to Queensland Country Bank for all their support.”

Good for Good aims to support a diverse range of projects across the arts, cultural, sport, health, education, recreation and sustainability sectors, with grants of up to $30,000 available for eligible community groups.

CEO Aaron Newman said his team was particularly hopeful of attracting applications with a sustainability focus in this year’s round.

“As a member-owned organisation, we’re committed to not only reducing our own environmental footprint, but supporting others to do the same,” he said.

“We also want to fund projects that will provide positive long-term benefits and build healthier, more inclusive communities for Queenslanders.”

“It’s all part of our member-owned difference, which enables us to reinvest our profits back into supporting the local communities that support us.”

The application process has been thoughtfully designed to make it is easy to apply for a grant and community groups no longer need to be a Member of Queensland Country Bank at the time of application.

Apply by 31 July 2022 at queenslandcountry.bank/goodforgood.

Putting local community needs ahead of profits

Toggle Item

Putting local community needs ahead of profits

Representatives from Mackay’s key industry sectors and community groups used their voice for the region at a networking lunch hosted by Queensland Country Group’s Board of Directors and Executives recently.

CEO Aaron Newman said that with 28 branches throughout the state, it was essential for his team to regularly engage with the regional communities in which they operate.

“As a member-owned organisation committed to putting people ahead of profits, we want to take an active role in the communities in which we operate and truly understand their needs,” he said.

“It’s easy for organisations locked away in their head office boardrooms to make decisions purely based on profitably, but that’s not how we operate.

“These visits help us to keep those communities top of mind when making decisions.”

It’s a strategy that is paying off for Queensland Country, which started as the Isa Mines Employees’ Credit Union in 1971 and continues to grow its regional footprint while retaining core values of supporting local communities.

“We provide a genuine alternative to the major banks and have supported Queenslanders to reach their financial goals with over $550 million in loans funded to our Members this financial year,” he said.

“At the same time, we’re supporting the communities who support us with over $2.5 million in grants and sponsorships invested into local communities since 2005.”

 

Digital banking update

Toggle Item

Digital banking update

Queensland Country is investing significantly in our digital capabilities to ensure we are at the forefront of modern banking.

We have major improvements planned for our mobile banking app, as we know many Members find this to be the quickest and easiest way to bank with us. We are also investing in faster and better loan systems to support you in getting a prompt approval and more valued interaction.

Updates on our digital projects will be shared in future issues of this newsletter.

Fast payments, simple as

Toggle Item

Fast payments, simple as

The days of sharing your BSB and account number to receive money, plus waiting around for payments to hit your account, are long gone!

Many Queensland Country Members are already enjoying the benefits of fast payments with Osko, and you can too.

Simply allocate a unique, easy to remember PayID (such as your email address or mobile number) to any of your accounts. Then share this PayID, instead of your BSB and account number, with whoever is sending you money.

Funds sent to your PayID (even from other banks) will be processed and received instantly!

To register a PayID, select ‘Manage PayID’ from the main menu in the Queensland Country mobile banking app, or from the Accounts menu in internet banking. You can also contact us to register a PayID for you.

Create PayIDs for as many accounts as you like and rest easy knowing you can keep the same PayIDs forever - they can be transferred to different accounts as your banking needs change, including at other financial institutions.

Receive payments the fast, simple way today. Learn more at osko.com.au.

 

Keep in touch

Toggle Item

Keep in touch

Have you recently moved, changed phone number or got a new email address? Please remember to keep us updated with your current details in case we need to contact you about your accounts.

You can update your details within internet banking or the mobile app, at your local branch, or by calling 1800 075 078.

For the fastest way to hear our latest news and important updates, please also consider following us on social media.

 

 

Join or switch by 31 July and get one month free on eligible policies

*Applies to first month premium on eligible new policies issued between 1 July to 31 July 2022. Not available with any other offers. Excludes Budget Hospital (Basic+) as standalone or packaged, Select Extras and Young Extras covers as standalone product only, policy changes, upgrades or downgrades. Full terms and conditions available queenslandcountry.health/made-in-queensland.

Keep up to date with our latest interest rates