UPDATE 6.30pm: Bendigo Bank managing director Marnie Baker expects confidence in the organisation as an alternative to the major banks to increase as a Royal Commission into the sector continues.
“The environment is really playing to our strengths as an organisation,” Ms Baker said.
She credited a ‘disciplined approach’ to asset and liability pricing with bolstering the bank’s position in the 2017-18 financial year.
“We’ve seen some really good growth, especially in the back end of the year,” Ms Baker said.
She said revelations from the ongoing banking Royal Commission had seen people seeking alternatives to the major banks.
Ms Baker defended the bank’s position on ATM fees, saying the money raised helped offset the cost of services.
“We believe they actually play a really important role - ATMs out in the community - in relation to being able to provide the community with access to funds,” she said.
While customers had more options to bank without stepping foot in a branch, including online services, Ms Baker said having a bricks-and-mortar presence was still important.
“There’s a place for online and there’s a place for digital and it’s clearly in the transactional space, where people are looking to do their transactions any place, anytime,” she said.
“But when it comes to more complex discussions, you need to be face-to-face with a human being or speaking with a human being.”
There was still demand to open new branches, Ms Baker said.
EARLIER: Bendigo Bank has recorded a $434.5 million after-tax profit for the 2017-18 financial year.
The figure represents a marginal increase from the $429.6m surplus the bank achieved in 2016-17.
Underlying cash earnings were $445.1m – a 6.4 percent annual increase – while the bank announced a fully franked final dividend of 35 cents per share.
Managing director Marnie Baker, who assumed the role earlier this year, said the results set a strong foundation for the bank’s ‘refreshed vision to be Australia’s bank of choice’.
“No bank is immune from the heightened attention surrounding the Royal Commission and other inquiries, but this also presents a strong opportunity. Our strategy, combined with our passionate culture and innovative mindset, drives the highest trust and advocacy in the industry,” she said.
“At a time when community standards in banking have never been more important, the Community Bank model is delivering significant social and economic benefits for Australian communities. More than $200 million has been returned to local communities in 20 years – about $17 million this year – and we’re proud to enable Australians and their communities to take greater control of their financial future by investing in themselves to create prosperous and sustainable lives.”
The ongoing banking Royal Commission has revealed extensive, widespread malpractice in the sector, including charging dead clients' fees for planning advice and charging other clients for financial advice never received.
Speaking more broadly on the outlook for the bank, Ms Barker said: “Our strategy is to focus on the success of our customers, people, partners and communities to be Australia’s bank of choice. Our proposition is strong; our customer focus, high trust ratings and customer advocacy, provide a great platform for business growth.”
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