Heritage breaks new ground by hosting seminars in Arabic

by Mike Wood01 Mar 2021

Heritage Bank is breaking new ground in Australia by hosting its inaugural Arabic language mortgage seminars.

They held their first Migrant Banking Mortgage Seminar in Toowoomba, Queensland earlier this month with the goal of helping those from non-English speaking backgrounds, particularly refugees, to get on the property ladder.

The first seminars were held by Waleed Sammouh and Basil Deghlawe, Heritage’s Community Liaison Member Growth Officers, who joined the organisation in early 2020 in new roles designed to offer customers a service that respects their culture, speaks their language and understands their issues.

Waleed, who arrived in Australia from Syria, has worked in business leadership, but was new to banking before taking on a role at Heritage.

“It’s so important because, after owning their homes in Syria in Iraq and being displaced from their homes because of the war, it’s really a big goal to get back to that feeling of stability and security for the families by owning a new home here in Australia,” he said. “It helps to feel really settled in Australia.”

“People will have a greater understanding about the steps that are needed to buy a home and the steps that are need in their own language. It’s a completely new environment and understanding it will make a big difference to them.”

“Because they don’t understand Australian banking, having someone like us talking to them in their native language gives them confidence and empowering them to ask questions they might not have asked if they were speaking in English.

The seminars held in Arabic are the first of what Heritage hope will be many that spread to other language backgrounds and migrant groups across Brisbane, Logan and South West Queensland.

“It is really important for people to buy home here,” said Basil Deghlawe, who had an accounting background in Syria before moving to Australia and Heritage Bank. “It’s vital to understand the effect of that, especially for those who moved to escape the war. It will be a milestone for us in settling here to buy a new home in a new country.”

“The feedback that we got from the community was that it builds a sense of trust when we speak in the native language of the community, because of the barriers in banking can be broken. Especially because of banking jargon, people find it easier to understand in Arabic.”