Attracting additional customers is a key plank in Heritage Bank’s strategy for future growth, Chairman Mr Kerry Betros told today’s Annual General Meeting in Toowoomba.
Mr Betros said Heritage Bank had adopted a new corporate strategic plan that will help re-shape the business to the changing demands of the increasingly digital banking environment. It will also look to expand Heritage’s long-term commitment to the mortgage broker channel to grow its national footprint.
“Customers, staff and community remain squarely at the centre of everything we do,” Mr Betros said.
“At the same time, we have to keep evolving as our operating environment evolves.
“Our strategic plan acknowledges our need to attract and grow new customers. It also commits us to respecting and deepening our relationship with existing customers, who have helped build us into the bank we are today.
“Our plan highlights the need to attract and develop passionate staff members, who will enable us to deliver the services that our customers demand.
“And it clearly sets out a mandate to modernise the way we operate, simplify our processes, and become easier to do business with.
“We’re looking to more firmly establish our presence on the national stage as an alternative to the listed banks, especially via our mortgage broker partners.
“We’ve been operating in the mortgage broker market for 20 years and we will leverage that experience to achieve further growth around the country.”
Mr Betros said Heritage was also focused on continuing to deliver customers the benefits of the customer-owned value proposition.
“Independent research by analysts Canstar found that our customers were $50 million better off by banking with Heritage rather than the big four banks last financial year,” he said.
“We also ended the year with the highest Roy Morgan customer satisfaction rating of any financial institution in Queensland at 94.3%.
“We’re a customer-owned bank and we never lose sight of our core responsibility to give our customers great value and great service
“We’re also committed to continuing to supporting local communities. We put more than $600,000 into sponsoring and supporting events in our local communities last year, as well as raising almost $75,000 for charities through our annual golf day and calendar sales.
“In addition our seven Community Branches have collectively put more than $37 million back into their local communities, through funding grants, wages, rent and payments for other goods and services, since the first was established in 1999.”
Mr Betros said Heritage had recorded another year of solid results in 2015/16. The pre-tax profit of $51.11 million was up 6.46% on the previous year; similarly the after tax profit was $36.14 million, up 7.53% on 2014/15.
Loan approvals were down slightly (3.26%), reaching $1.78 billion in 2015/16 compared to $1.84 billion in the previous year. Total consolidated assets were also marginally lower, down from $8.56 billion to $8.44 billion.
However retail deposits grew strongly, up by $294 million (6.05%) to $5.16 billion.
Mr Betros said the second half of the 2015/16 financial year had seen strong growth in lending and deposits, and Heritage would look to build on that momentum to continue growth in 2016/17.