12 June 2020
Migrants face enormous challenges when they arrive in Australia – including coping with our often unfamiliar banking system.
Heritage Bank is making that adjustment easier for the growing number of Syrian and Iraqi refugees in the Toowoomba region by employing two members of the community as liaison officers.
New recruits Waleed Sammouh and Basel Deghlawe are combining their fluency in Arabic, understanding of Syrian and Iraqi culture, and growing knowledge of the banking and finance industry to help new migrants feel more at ease when dealing with banks.
Waleed and Basel are both originally from Syria and arrived in Toowoomba recently as a place to build a safer future for their families.
The new roles are a first for Heritage, part of the bank’s ongoing commitment to building an inclusive workforce and offering personalised, culturally respectful and inclusive banking service.
Heritage Bank CEO Peter Lock said, “The core of Heritage has always been about people, and putting their needs first.
“As part of this we recognised an opportunity to better connect migrant communities with banking services in an accessible and approachable way.
“We did a lot of research into visas and immigration, and partnered with BEST Employment to engage directly with members of the local Syrian and Iraqi community about their experiences.
“Waleed and Basel’s appointments are a direct result of how we’re continually listening and learning to provide authentic banking experiences.”
David New, Team Leader Toowoomba BEST Employment, said, “BEST Employment is delighted to have an open partnership with Heritage Bank. We were able to connect them to the local Syrian and Iraqi community in Toowoomba to gain a better understanding of their needs in regard to employment and banking services.
“Like Heritage, we are a community focused organisation so it’s really encouraging to see how they are taking action to build an inclusive workforce and provide additional services to support migrant and refugee communities.”
Waleed Sammouh said he was excited to be one of Heritage’s first Community Liaison, Member Growth Officers at Heritage.
“It’s different experience having someone who not only speaks your language but also understands your culture and experiences,” he said.
“It helps people to feel comfortable, especially when you’re explaining banking language in their language.
Basel Deghlawe agreed, “It feels really special to be a part of Heritage’s first steps into offering these kinds of multicultural services to members.
“We’re really happy to be a part of such a people focussed organisation and look forward to helping provide people with great banking experiences.”