26 February 2021
Heritage’s efforts to help improve financial literacy within Queensland's migrant and refugee communities took a step forward recently with its first-ever Migrant Banking Mortgage Seminar – presented in Arabic.
It was the pilot for a planned series of seminars designed to help people from migrant communities to better understand the Australian banking system.
Five members from the Middle Eastern community on the Darling Downs attended the seminar at Heritage’s Toowoomba headquarters in early February, hosted by Community Liaison Member Growth Officers Waleed Sammouh and Basel Deghlawe.
Originally from Syria, Mr Deghlawe and Mr Sammouh joined Heritage in early 2020 in newly created roles offering personalised, culturally respectful and inclusive banking services.
Since then, they have combined their fluency in Arabic, understanding of Middle Eastern culture, and knowledge of the banking and finance industry to help refugees and migrants feel more at ease when dealing with banks.
Mr Deghlawe and Mr Sammouh came up with the idea to present mortgage seminars spoken in Arabic as a way to connect with and support the new migrants and refugees.
“Buying a home is a dream, and especially for those of us who moved to Australia to escape the war and unpleasant circumstances, it’s a milestone in settling into life in a new country,” Basel said.
“Through these seminars, Heritage is contributing to the community in which we live by encouraging inclusiveness. It is the essence of the approach we stand for - people first.”
Mr Sammouh said, “Home ownership provides a sense of stability and security. We worked very hard on this presentation to make the process of buying a house very clear, easy and simple for those who want to buy a house.
“Heritage, being a people-focussed organisation, allows us to connect with Arabic speaking communities. We are able to create a better customer experience by speaking in their native language so members have greater understanding of product and services.”
Heritage partnered with BEST Employment to engage directly with members of the local Middle Eastern community in Toowoomba for the seminar.
Following the success of the pilot, future events are being planned for refugees and migrant families across areas in Brisbane, Logan and South West Queensland.
PHOTO (from left) Waleed Sammouh, Heritage Bank; seminar participants Ramzia Jendo and Amira Jando; and Basel Deghlawe, Heritage Bank.