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April 2024

Welcome to our quarterly newsletter, which is published in the first week of January, April, July and October. Enjoy the read!

From the CEO's Desk - Aaron Newman

There is a general consensus amongst economists in Australia that the Reserve Bank of Australia is not likely to increase the official cash rate any further and therefore we have reached the top of the interest rate cycle. Although Queenslanders have demonstrated resilience in the face of cost of living challenges, this will no doubt be welcome news for our home loan borrowers, and we have seen the Bank’s cost of funds ease somewhat. This has enabled the Bank to make the decision to reduce standard fixed home loan interest rates for new and existing borrowers by 0.30% across the 1, 2 and 3 year fixed rates.

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Read more from our CEO, Aaron Newman

New borrowers have continued to move to Queensland Country over the past six months with record lending levels being achieved. The Bank is on track to fund $750m in new loans this financial year, helping Queenslanders buy homes, cars and assisting with business investment.

A highlight during March was Pink performing at Queensland Country Bank Stadium, which saw people from all over North Queensland descend on Townsville to enjoy the performance of one of the world’s top entertainers. Two sold out shows demonstrated how North Queensland people will support high quality acts, and hopefully will be the catalyst for other performers to consider Townsville. It also demonstrates that quality social infrastructure like the stadium contributes to the liveability of North Queensland.

Queensland Country made a submission to the iTnews Benchmark Awards for our IT infrastructure transformation project, that included the migration of the IT infrastructure to the new cloud hosted environment. This digital project was a significant investment for the purpose of increasing the security of our Member data and protecting against cyber criminals.

The iTnews Awards have been held for the past 10 years and offer national awards across 10 IT related categories. The awards are for the purpose of giving recognition to end user organisations for innovation and value they have delivered to government, industry and the public, through IT projects.

The submission was made for the Best Telecommunications and Media Project along with the Best Finance and Professional Services Project. I am pleased to advise Queensland Country Bank was a finalist for both awards and was successful in winning the award for the Best Telecommunications and Media Project.

An important change in our product offering will be the removal of cheque books. Our chequing services are currently being provided by a major bank through a third party. We have been advised that the major bank will cease the service at some point during 2024.

We are aware that a number of other banks have already ceased the service to their customers. Suncorp has recently announced that their customers will no longer be able to use a cheque drawn on a Suncorp account, including the issue of bank cheques, and this change came into effect on the 1st March.

We will need to commence our exit from chequing services, starting with ceasing of new cheque book facilities effective from 18th March.

We will continue to offer cheque book replacements/renewals at this stage to our existing Members. Our ability to continue to offer chequing facilities is controlled by the major bank that offers this service to us. We recognise that the use of a cheque book is an important service to some of our Members and we will be in direct contact over coming months to offer alternative payment options.

We recognise the importance of access to banking services and the Board has therefore approved a significant investment in both our digital services like the mobile app and website along with further expansion of our bank branches. This expansion of services will be made over the next 12 months that should make banking with Queensland Country even more accessible. I look forward to sharing further information regarding our expansion as these initiatives progress.

Thank you for choosing Queensland Country.

Canstar Awards

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Queensland Country awarded for investment lending

We're proud to announce that we have been awarded two Canstar Awards in the investment lending category:

  • Outstanding Value Investment Home Lender 2024
  • Outstanding Value Investment Variable - Home Lender 2024

Investment lending is an area of growth for our organisation and being able to showcase these awards is a great way for us to attract new Members.

As a Member-owned bank we often talk about providing better value for our Members and awards like this are a great sign that we are doing this right.

Scam Article

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10 tips to protect yourself from online scammers

Whenever you're using any online platform, keep these tips in mind to ensure you are staying safe and keeping your personal information secure.

  • Make your social media profiles private and limit your audience to only your known family and friends.
  • Do not place any sensitive personal information on social media – this includes things like your date of birth, contact details or any tax or social security information. 
  • Use strong passwords.
  • Enable 2-Factor authorisation on your accounts, where possible.
  • Watch out for AI generated photos and videos – these are often used by scammers, particularly to endorse fake products, events or celebrity endorsements for products. 
  • Always review the profiles of any seller before you make a purchase online and only use reputable reselling websites.  
  • Don’t click on pops ups you receive while you’re on the internet – these can often be a scam or contain malware. 
  • If paying an invoice, call the company you’re paying first, to confirm the payment details on the invoice are correct
  • Make sure you have anti-virus software installed on your electronic devices.
  • Learn how to do a reverse image search online – this might help you identify if a picture you’ve received is from a legitimate source

Getting budget back on track after Easter

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Getting your budget back on track after Easter

As Easter draws to a close for yet another year, are you worried you may have overindulged in the long-weekend holidays and chocolate? With these tips in mind, you could get your budget back on track.

  • Review your previous budget to determine where you overspent
  • Develop a new and improved budget that caters to your financial situation
  • Revise your current financial goals and ensure they align with your budget
  • Implement strategies to assist you with your spending habits
  • Review your spending at the end of each month to determine if you are keeping your budget on track

We have a team of Money Mentors* who can help you plan and assess your budget. Get in touch today!

 

*This service will provide budgeting tools for personal finances and is limited to our products and services only. There may be other products issued by other providers that may better suit your needs.

General Advice Warning: This information is intended to be general in nature and is not personal financial advice. It does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any information in this article, you should consider the appropriateness of the information provided. In particular, you should seek independent financial advice.

Reference: Carmen Reinicke, 2021, How to get back on track after blowing your budget, CNBC, https://www.cnbc.com/2021/12/28/how-to-get-back-on-track-after-blowing-your-budget.html

Mount Isa Member Event

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We invited our Members to an event in Mount Isa

In February, we had the pleasure of inviting a number of our Members to a special event in Mount Isa.

This gave our Members the opportunity to meet our new Board Chair, Lewis Ramsay, as well as to hear a business update from our CEO, Aaron Newman.

We were also fortunate to have our Brand Ambassador, Romy Teitzel, join us for a Q&A session. This gave our Members the chance to get to know her, hear about her career, how she juggles multiple jobs and forms of income, and her decision to come on board as an Ambassador for us.

Tips for travelling overseas

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Tips to help you travel safely and securely

Before you jet off on your next overseas holiday, keep these tips in mind to help you keep your banking card safe and secure.

  • Let us know when, where and how long you’ll be travelling overseas – this will ensure we do not mistake your foreign transactions for fraudulent ones.
  • Research your destination and familiarise yourself with local laws, emergency phone numbers, and medical systems.
  • Double check your travel documents (such as your passport and travel visa - if applicable) are valid.
  • Use our banking app or Internet Banking to check up on any transactions you’ve made while overseas.
  • Research options for mobile and Internet access while you're travelling. 
  • Carry other sources of funds as well, such as foreign cash or a travel card.
  • Arrange travel insurance.

Check out our travelling tips for further useful information.

Queensland Country Bank is everything I ever imagined!

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