12 October 2011
Abacus – the peak body for Australian mutuals – has welcomed the development of "mutual banks" as an important boost to competition in banking.
Teachers Credit Union, one of Australia's largest and most successful mutual banking groups, has plans to rebrand as "Teachers Mutual Bank", subject to member approval. The credit union will put its proposals to its members at its AGM on 26 November. APRA approval would also be required. For full details, see: http://www.teacherscreditunion.com.au/GI_About%20us/teachers-mutual-bank.aspx
TCU would join QT Mutual Bank (formerly Queensland Teachers Credit Union) and bankmecu (formerly mecu) in adopting mutual bank branding as a means of boosting their profile.
Abacus CEO Louise Petschler said these new developments were another sign of the ambition and strength of Australia's mutual banking sector.
"Australian mutuals – credit unions, building societies and mutual banks – are owned by customers, and give back more in service and community investment," said Ms Petschler.
"The rise of 'mutual banks' is about promoting diversity in the fifth pillar and encouraging more competition to the big banks – a win for Australian consumers," said Ms Petschler.
"Changing our name to Teachers Mutual Bank will more accurately reflect who we are and what we offer, in the public mind. Our status as a mutual is rock-solid. We'll continue to live the ethos and principles upon which we were founded," said TCU CEO Steve James.
Abacus noted the use of 'mutual bank' branding by credit unions and mutual building societies reflects Government efforts to promote mutuals as the new pillar in a banking market hungry for competition.
"Mutual banking institutions of all shapes and sizes are beneficial to the Australian banking market – more choice ultimately means better value for everyone," said Ms Petschler.
"The numbers stack up. Mutuals offer consistently better rates than big banks, record higher customer satisfaction than big banks, and deliver better value than big banks. And we're excited to see more Australians choosing the mutual option – in the past year, we grew at more than twice the rate of listed banks in Australia."
"Over four and a half million Australians already know they get a better deal from banking with mutuals. We hope that a higher profile will help us deliver value to millions more."
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