Non-major takes bank of the year title

"Thrilled" CEO credits passion and dedication of staff

Non-major takes bank of the year title


By Madison Utley

A customer owned bank has won a Roy Morgan Customer Satisfaction Award, beating the big four as well as other mutual and customer owned institutions in the category.

Heritage Bank took the bank of the year title in Melbourne on 20 February, with chief customer officer Kevin Potter accepting the accolade.

CEO Peter Lock said the team was “thrilled” and that the award was testament to the “passion and dedication” of Heritage Bank staff.

“At Heritage, our top priority is to give our customers great value and a great experience. Unlike the listed banks, our goal is not to make huge profits to pay big dividends to shareholding investors,” he said.

“Our customers are our owners, and we retain all the profits we make, so it is rewarding and validating that they think so highly of the products and services they receive from Heritage,” he added. 

In a 2018 report from Roy Morgan, figures show customer satisfaction with the big four banks declined 3.6% over a six-month period, while satisfaction of customers at other banks only showed a 0.7% decrease over the same period. This left big four bank customer satisfaction at 75.6%, while other institutions carried a rating of 84.2%.

Since 2015, three of the big four have lost market value. Investors anticipate continued slower loan growth and rising bad debts, as well as a series of regulatory reforms following the Royal Commission that will further impact the institutions. Additionally, the big banks are downsizing through shedding their wealth management divisions in light of the recent scandal surrounding the matter.

Heritage is one of many to criticise Commissioner Hayne’s recommendation that customers should pay a fee for broker services, with Lock saying such a move would “create severe challenges for the broking industry”.

“We do not support increasing the costs for customers to obtain a home loan, in the form of a customer-paid fee-for-service and worsen the current affordability crisis for those customers already struggling to afford a home,” Lock said.

“At Heritage, we rely on brokers to grow our member base nationally, particularly outside of our home state of Queensland,” he added.

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