What is a customer owned bank?

What is a customer owned bank?

Customer owned banks, such as Heritage, operate on a different business model to other banks. Here's what you need to know.

Heritage Bank Staff Member

What is a bank?

In Australia, a bank is an authorised deposit-taking institution (ADI) that is overseen by government regulators, such as the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, in accordance with the Banking Act 1959 and Corporations Act 2001.

A bank is a secure place to deposit money, and offers a range of services like saving accounts, term deposits, transaction accounts, debit and credit cards and more.

While banks in Australia may offer similar products and provide the same protections, we aren't all the same. Some banks have different priorities.

What is a customer owned bank?

Banks are either owned by investors or customers.

The priority of investor owned banks is to make a profit for their investors. They are listed on the Australian Security Exchange (ASX) and do what they can to maximise dividends for their shareholders.

The priority of customer owned banks (such as Heritage) is to provide benefits to their customers and the wider communities they operate in. 

Customer owned banks are also known as building societies, credit unions and mutual banks.

Heritage is a mutual bank. We don't have shareholders and we exist to deliver great value to our customers.

When you bank with Heritage, you become a member and part-owner of the bank.

How does this benefit you?

Did you know that more than 5 million Australians choose to bank with a customer owned bank? This is because banking with a customer owned bank benefits you and your wider community. These benefits include:

1. People before profits

Customer owned banks don't ask 'how can we make the most money?' we ask 'what is best for the customer?'. With this people first approach, customer owned banks consistently deliver award-winning products and have high customer satisfaction levels.

2. A strong history

Customer owned banks have been around for many years, and with this history, comes trustworthiness and an understanding of what's truly needed to support customers to achieve their money goals. We've innovated and grown along the way to meet our customers needs, and sustainability is at the forefront of all we do.

3. Community focus

Customer owned banks pride themselves on giving back to the community through sponsorships and community banking. At Heritage, we have a widespread sponsorship program, community branches and give back to our community through our philanthropic partner - the Heritage Bank Charitable Foundation.

4. Customer Owned Banking Code of Practice

The Customer Owned Banking Code of Practice was introduced by the Customer Owned Banking Association. The Code includes key promises given by customer owned banks, to ensure fair and ethical dealing with customers. While the Code is not mandatory to, it is recommended. We follow the Code closely at Heritage which you can learn more about here. 

Who is the Customer Owned Banking Association?

The Customer Owned Banking Association (COBA) is the leading body for Australian mutual financial institutions including mutual banks, building societies, credit unions and friendly societies. They are a strong public advocate, pushing for more banking competition and a fairer operating system to help our industry challenge big bank market dominance. 

Make the switch today

Ready to make the switch to a customer owned bank? We're here to help you achieve your firsts. Learn about switching to Heritage online today, contact us 13 14 22 or visit your local branch.

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