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A Note from our Chairman

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At the beginning of each calendar year it’s customary for our Board to review its committees and leadership positions in line with the strategic needs of the organisation and the results of the Directors’ election from the most recent AGM. During this process in January, I was honoured to be nominated and elected as Qudos Bank’s Chairman, and Capt. Barry Jackson was returned as Deputy Chairman.

This will be an historic year for our organisation. In November, Qudos Bank (formerly Qantas Staff Credit Union and Qantas Credit Union) will celebrate its 60th anniversary of providing quality banking to our customers. While there will be ample celebration and acknowledgment, it is also appropriate to acknowledge that the pace of change in technology, community expectations and regulation in the Australian Banking industry has never been greater.

To this end, I thought it important to write to you following the release of the Final Report of the Financial Services Royal Commission at the beginning of this month. This report contains 76 recommendations that have received broad support from both major political parties, who are now considering how to best implement them.

The principle underlying each of the recommendations in the Report is simple and powerful – a focus on the best interests of the customer rather than banks’ shareholders, employees or third parties.

As customers and owners of our bank, we’re accountable to you. And overwhelmingly, your Board, the Qudos Executive team and our employees are customers too. Qudos is not driven by profit for profits sake, but to provide you with the value products and services you’ve come to expect; to give more back to you in the form of better rates, fairer fees and great service.

We’re equally committed to meeting or exceeding the community standards and expectations that apply to banks of any size. In these respects, much of the intent and detail of the Final Report has been entrenched in our organisation since inception in 1959. That said, we commit to work through each recommendation and the legal changes that may flow from them, to ensure we fully meet community expectations.

I also wanted to flag that there are some recommendations in the Final Report that may impact negatively on Qudos Bank if fully implemented. One example involves the usage of mortgage brokers, which complement our direct offering of home loans and investment loans and help offset our disadvantage relative to the Big 4 banks in bricks and mortar branches. In a market dominated by the Big 4 with access to almost unlimited advertising allowances and extensive distribution networks we rely on our broker network to help level the playing field we operate in.

Early feedback from mortgage brokers and the industry bodies that represent them, is that the recommendations contained in the Final Report will significantly impact the viability of mortgage broking. Should this eventuate, it could perversely lead to less home lending growth by customer-owned and regional banks – and more market share for the Big 4.

As you would expect, we will be working constructively with other customer-owned banks and the Customer Owned Banking Association to ensure that genuine competition in banking is not an unintended casualty of implementing the very good intent behind the Royal Commission’s recommendations.

As always, we will continue to keep you informed of developments important to the future of your bank.

In closing, I would like to acknowledge and express gratitude to David Hailes for his contribution as Chairman of the Qudos Bank Board over the past year. David will remain a Director and continue his long and highly valuable contribution to the oversight and governance of Qudos Bank.

 

Regards,

Andrew Leithhead
Chairman
Qudos Bank