Heritage Bank’s actions in writing to the ALP about their election slogan have been purely and simply about protecting its much-loved motto, and have absolutely no political motivations, CEO Peter Lock said today.
Heritage Bank has been using the motto “People first” for well over a decade and has had it trademarked since 2007. The ALP this year adopted “Putting people first” as its 2016 Federal election slogan.
Mr Lock said Heritage had written to the ALP, and separately to the Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, asking them not to use the “people first” phrase, and particularly in connection with the financial services sector.
“As an organisation, we are absolutely apolitical and we don’t seek or have any interest in being involved in the election campaign.
“That’s why we feel it is important for our customers that we make the distinction between the political slogan and what Heritage Bank stands for,” Mr Lock said.
“We have genuine concerns about potential damage to our brand that we have championed and built up over many years.”
Mr Lock denied that Heritage Bank has made any donations to the LNP, as has been alleged. In particular, the 2014 donation of more than $10,000 referred to by the ALP and reported in the media, was not made by Heritage Bank.
“Heritage has no political affiliations and we do not support one side of politics over the other. It is not our policy to make donations to any political parties. Any suggestion otherwise is simply untrue,” he said.
Mr Lock said nor did Heritage endorse the political inclinations of individual staff members.
“Our people first culture means we have many staff members who are passionate about issues and with a real commitment to their communities.
“It’s not unusual that we have staff members who seek to serve their community, whether in the political sphere or in other ways. We’re proud and supportive of staff members who do that.
“We have leave policies in place that allow them to pursue those goals in their private lives, but we categorically do not endorse any individual political convictions.
“To infer otherwise is untrue and an insult to Heritage, our staff and our customers.”