2020 has been a year full of unexpected challenges for us all, but it has also been a year of significant achievements and learnings.
The year started strong for Queensland Country Group with the announcement of our transition from a credit union to a member-owned bank and our appointment as the naming rights partner for Queensland Country Bank Stadium in Townsville. These two significant projects have combined to generate a notable uplift in the perception of the organisation in terms of our capability, our safety and security, and have assisted us to mature as an organisation in a short time.
As we reflect on our achievements for this past year, we're proud of the high levels of commitment and dedication our Board, Executive team, and every single staff member have given to Queensland Country and our Members.
Our ability to adapt to change to deliver outstanding results on planned and new projects has seen our organisation:
- Conduct a Special General Meeting for Members to vote in favour of transitioning to a member-owned bank, enabling us to expand our financial services, including business banking;
- Achieve an external credit rating through Standard and Poors Ratings Agency, which has demonstrated the financial strength of our organisation;
- Undertake a complete rebrand of the organisation, which included the new Imagine More marketing campaign;
- Secure the naming rights sponsorship for the Queensland Country Bank Stadium in Townsville to ensure a local business name was on this significant piece of infrastructure;
- Assist almost 200 Members reach their financial goal of home ownership. A majority of these Members saved a significant amount of mortgage insurance costs due to our appointment as an Approved Lender in the Government’s First Home Loan Deposit Scheme;
- Open a new Dental practice in Mackay, which despite being temporarily closed for non-urgent treatments due to COVID-19 restrictions just days after opening in March, is now fully operational;
- Support over 800 Bank Members and 300 Health Fund Members with a range of relief measures in response to the pandemic, many of whom have now returned to making normal repayments due to improved job certainty;
- Streamline our loans processing to assist Members take advantage of the generous Government grants for first home buyers and renovators that were offered as part of the post-pandemic economic recovery;
- Provide a centralised service to Ipswich Members by moving our branch into Riverlink Shopping Centre;
- Open a new branch in Rockhampton and maintain our branch operations throughout the state, despite the post-pandemic industry trend to close branches in favour of faceless contact;
- Be inducted into the Ronald McDonald House Charities Hall of Fame for our ongoing significant contribution to the charity;
- Receive the Canstar 5-Star Rating for our Pension Plus Account;
- Be awarded the prestigious Canstar 5-Star Rating for Outstanding Value New Car Loan for the fourth consecutive year;
- Be awarded best New Car Loan in the Mozo Experts Choice Awards for Personal Loans 2021;
- Continue to support local communities through community grants valued at over $100,000;
- Commit to the growth of our sub-brand, Territory Health Fund, by opening a kiosk in Darwin’s Gateway Shopping Plaza;
- Record our highest quarter of lending in the organisation’s history;
- Remain one of the most well capitalised Health Funds in the industry, achieving above industry growth during the first quarter of the current financial year despite some financial implications from COVID-19.
- Attract a record number of new Members to Queensland Country with a net increase of 7,500 Members across banking and health
In the works for early in the New Year:
- Announcement of the 2021 Good for Good Grants recipients, with grant funding of over $120,000 to be shared amongst eight community groups throughout the state.
- Expansion into the Sunshine Coast as Maleny Credit Union transfers its banking business to Queensland Country in February. We are focussed on providing a smooth transition and introduction to our products and services for existing and new Members.
- Celebration of our 50th birthday, culminating with our 50th AGM in November. The organisation began as the Isa Mines Employees Credit Union in 1971.
This list of accomplishments would be something our organisation would be pleased to deliver in a standard year, but to achieve all the above in a year that has been dominated by a global pandemic is something we are all very proud of.
We hope that everyone has the chance to reflect on their resilience and achievements throughout 2020, and that we look ahead with optimism and confidence in our ability to adapt and thrive in 2021 and beyond.
We wish you all a happy and safe festive season.