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.