What counts as a customer-owned bank?
Customer-owned banks are any institution that provides consumer banking services such as credit cards, loans, savings accounts, and term deposits, but is owned by its members. Members have voting rights on constitutional matters affecting the customer-owned bank, and profits are reinvested back into the products and services offered by the institution rather than disappearing in shareholder dividends.
In 2016, CANSTAR has researched and rated customer-owned banking institutions for the Customer Owned Banking Award, and within this sector has rated 15 mutual banks, 34 credit unions, and 6 building societies.
In the list below, we have specifically highlighted the customer-owned institutions who have in recent year taken on the mantle of “bank”.
Who are the Mutual Banks in Australia?
So where can you find the customer-owned banks? Listed alphabetically, they are as follows:
Australian Military Bank
Australia’s longest-serving financial institution for Defence personnel, the Australian Military Bank was founded in 1959 as the Navy (Civil Staff) Co-op Ltd. They were known as the Australian Defence Credit Union (ADCU) from 1983 to 2015, when they became Australian Military Bank. They specialise in providing banking services to Defence personnel, their families, and the broader Defence community, but anyone can join.
As Australia’s first mutual bank, Bank Australia (formerly known as bankmecu) represents the amalgamation of 56 credit unions. Bank Australia is based in Kew, Victoria.
With their transformation from Police Credit in June 2013, BankVic is one of the newest mutual banks on the block. They are not a new institution though, having been established in 1974 to offer financial services to specific sectors of the community.
Beyond Bank Australia
Trading name of Community CPS Australia. Prior to becoming a bank, Community CPS was one of Australia’s largest credit unions. It is based in South Australia, the ACT, WA and NSW.
A division of Police Bank, Customs Bank holds a proud heritage of servicing employees of the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service. They are based in NSW, ACT and VIC.
G&C Mutual Bank
Formerly known as SGE Credit Union, G&C Mutual Bank adopted its new name in late 2014. From humble beginnings in 1959 as the Public Works Department Staff Cooperative, G&C has since become a mutual bank with over 36,000 members.
Founded in 1945, the Greater Newcastle Cooperative Permanent Building and Investment Society (Greater Building Society) became Greater Bank in 2016. They now serve over 250,000 members and manage more than $5 billion in assets.
In 1981 the Toowoomba Permanent Building Society and the Darling Downs Building Society merged to become Heritage Building Society. Based in Toowoomba, Queensland, the organisation renamed as Heritage Bank in late 2011. Heritage is currently the largest customer-owned bank in Australia.
Originated out of the Albury-Wodonga region 60 years ago as the Hume Co-operative Building & Investment Society. It officially became a bank in July 2014 after seeking approval from its customers and the governing body APRA in 2013. Hume Bank has 19 branches and 47 ATMs, and serves more than 58,000 customers.
Established as the Illawarra Mutual Building Society approximately 135 years ago, IMB became a mutual bank in August 2015. IMB Bank has branches in 44 locations across every state and territory in Australia and serves around 180,000 members, with AUD$5 billion in assets.
Born in Western Australia in 1990 as Police & Nurses Credit Society and is now WA’s largest locally owned and managed bank. Owned by its members, P&N Bank offers a full suite of retail banking products available via internet, phone, and mobile, with 17 branches in WA, a network of over 3,500 ATMs Australia-wide, and a Perth-based contact centre.
Based in Sydney NSW, Police Bank started life as the NSW Police Credit Union in 1964, starting out with just 60 members. It officially relaunched as Police Bank in December 2012.
QT Mutual Bank
Originated as Queensland Teachers’ Credit Union in 1965. After 46 years, in October 2011 it became a customer-owned bank running in Queensland.
Teachers Mutual Bank
Began business as the Hornsby Teachers Association Credit Union in 1966, with 29 members and $644 in deposits. They became Teachers Mutual Bank in April 2012.
Victoria Teachers Mutual Bank
Victoria Teachers Limited, trading as Victoria Teachers Mutual Bank, began life as a credit union set up specifically to provide for the financial needs of those working in education. They are based in Melbourne, Victoria.
What are your other customer-owned options?
As you can see, there are lots of choices available. CANSTAR can help you be sure of your decision on where to bank by helping you compare what’s on offer from the various customer owned banking institutions.