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Customer focus and competitive lending driving bank’s growth

Customer focus and competitive lending driving bank’s growth

  • Group Net profit after tax up 31.6 per cent to $49.10 million
  • Total income up 9.6 per cent to $328.30 million
  • Consolidated assets up 0.9 per cent closing at $16.30 billion
  • Capital adequacy increased from 14.4 per cent to 14.6 per cent
  • Retail customer deposits increased 1.6 per cent to $11.26 billion
  • Combined active banking and insurance customer numbers up 2.3 per cent to 420,329
  • Carbon neutral for the financial year following offset of over 7,500 tonnes of CO2

Great Southern Bank is positioned for growth after posting a 31.6 per cent increase in Group Net Profit After Tax in FY21, as the bank benefited from strong revenue growth, optimised lower funding costs and clear strategic direction.

Key achievements for customers include technology investments that improve the simplicity of the home loan application process while reducing average time to agree a loan by a full day, helping build a savings culture among young Australians with high interest paying accounts, and the launch of its lowest ever fixed home loan.

“Our investments this year focused on delivering customer needs,” said Paul Lewis, CEO of Great Southern Bank. “After gathering feedback from over 25,000 customers we have enabled improved digital customer interfaces and created clever savings features that allow customers to reach their financial goals faster.  We’ve also continued to invest in cyber resilience that protects our customers into the future.”

Total income increased 9.58 per cent to $328.3 million, and at the same time the cost of funding remained at historically low levels. Active customer numbers rose to over 420,329 on the back of competitive offerings and ongoing infrastructure investment designed to improve and safeguard the customer experience.

“We saw strong growth in the second half of FY21 and have set ourselves up well for growth opportunities over the next three years,” said Mr Lewis. “Our goal is to leverage attractive opportunities as they arise and continue to increase our already high customer service ratings.”

During the year the company rebranded from CUA to Great Southern Bank and announced the divestment of its health business so that it can focus on its purpose of helping all Australians own their own homes.

“Owning your own home is a life goal for many Australians,” said Mr Lewis. “That’s why we’ve accelerated our application approval processes and are supporting three times as many loans from first time buyers as we were in 2018.

“We are also keen supporters of Government schemes to help with home ownership – through the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme alone we’ve helped over 1,700 Australians purchase their first home with a total lending exceeding $525 million. And in this current year we are participating in the Family Home Guarantee Scheme to help single parents buy a home with only a 2% deposit.”

Customer service, measured through Net Promoter Score (NPS) remained high in FY21 and Mr Lewis said the bank was focused on keeping it significantly above the scores received by the big four banks.

After a key technology rollout, home loan applications were up 31 per cent over the year, with momentum continuing into the new financial year. The technology upgrade and simplification of the operations business has resulted in a faster online home loan applications process for personal customers and brokers.

CUA Health contributed $9.3 million in NPAT for the year up from $6.1 million. The bank announced the sale of the health business to HBF in May this year, with completion occurring in September.

Operating expenses were $255.80 million, an increase of 11.1 per cent from 2020 including $4.5 million in one off costs related to the sale of CUA Health. Risk and compliance costs comprised the largest part of the increased spend, following heavy investment in Open Banking and uplifted capability in anti-money laundering.

“We can achieve further significant cost benefits and efficiencies for our customers by increasing scale and efficiency,” said Mr Lewis. “We are well placed to seek growth opportunities which we are exploring through partnering, acquisitions or other forms of collaboration.”

“We take our responsibility as a customer owned bank seriously. We continue to provide community funding to help in three key areas – housing affordability, family violence and digital inclusion,” said Mr Lewis.

“At the same time, we continue to help communities and customers impacted by natural disasters and the pandemic. Though over 99 per cent of the almost 5,400 members we helped during the peak of the crisis have now finished their financial assistance, volumes remain 30% higher than pre-pandemic levels and we will maintain support for these customers until they get back on their feet.”

Other highlights:

  • Over 99 per cent of the almost 5,400 members have rolled off financial assistance, though volumes are still 30% higher than pre-pandemic levels.
  • Well provisioned against future COVID drawdown requirements and are currently providing ongoing support as required.
  • Completed the second year of its partnership with Red Cross Australia and Infoxchange, continuing to lift the digital and financial capability of Australians experiencing vulnerability.
  • Increased funding to support people experiencing family violence.

2021 independent recognition:

  • Most Recommended First Home Buyers Loan DBM Australia Financial Awards
  • Exceptional Everyday Account - Everyday Snap Account, Mozo Experts Choice
  • Best Bank Account Award - Everyday Snap Account, RateCity Bank Account Awards
  • Best Kids Saving Account - Youth eSaver, RateCity Bank Account Awards
  • Best Regular Savers Account - eSaver Reward, RateCity Bank Account Awards
  • Best Mutual Lender - RFI Group Australian Lending Awards

View our complete list of awards

About Great Southern Bank

For over 75 years, we’ve been putting our customers first, and today we look after the financial and insurance needs of over 420,000 Australians. We just changed our name from CUA to Great Southern Bank but we’re still the same customer-owned bank focused on helping Australians own their own homes with clever products that match the many ways we now live and work. Something we think is pretty neat. After all, we too believe in the great Australian dream and we’ll do our best to help you achieve it.

Media contact:
Michael O’Toole
Manager, External Communications
Mobile: 0428 051 754