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The nation’s newest 100 per cent customer-owned bank, Beyond Bank Australia (previously the Community CPS Australia Group), has posted a healthy $23.2 million after-tax profit for 2012/13 while delivering more cost-effective banking for its customers.

The organisation, which trades in South Australia, Western Australia, the ACT, Wagga Wagga and the Hunter Valley, increased its overall assets under management by 5 per cent in 2012/13 – up from $3.66 billion to $3.83 million.

Beyond Bank Australia Chief Executive Officer Robert Keogh says the bank has also reinvested back into the business with a review of its fees and charges that returns real value of $1.8 million in annual savings to its customers.

 “In addition, independent agency CANSTAR CANNEX reports that each of our customers are on average $142 better off banking with us than with one of the major banks, which represents a saving of $26 million across our 200,000 customers,” Mr Keogh said.

“This is an outstanding result because as a customer-owned bank, our aim is to create and return value back to our members through quality, affordable banking solutions, and to strengthen the communities in which they live.”

Over the course of 2012/13, Beyond Bank Australia continued supporting a number of not-for-profit organisations, distributing more than $260,000 in grants to selected community groups across the nation, as well as another $205,000 in bonus payments to not-for-profit groups nominated as recipients from customers’ Community Reward Accounts.

“Beyond Bank Australia will always continue to put customers and their communities first and foremost, which is in keeping with our philosophy of creating prosperity for the many, not just the few. Our intention is to increase our community contribution by 150 per cent in the years ahead,” Mr Keogh said.

In other financial results for Beyond Bank Australia:

- Total member deposits rose by 3.3 per cent to just over $3 billion
- New lending for the year reached $640 million, down slightly on 2011/12 in a subdued credit environment
- Capital adequacy remained strong at 16.18 per cent
- Net bad debt costs were contained at 0.03 per cent of a total loan portfolio of $3.3 billion
- Cost to income ratio rose slightly to 70 per cent on the back of significant strategic investments.

Mr Keogh said patchy economic conditions played out across the bank’s markets, with South Australia sluggish with total business growth of 2.6 per cent, but this was offset by 12.4 per cent business growth in the ACT and 4.3 per cent each in WA and the Hunter Valley.”

“Western Australia continues to grow on the back of mining and associated industries, the Hunter Valley has a rich and diversified ecoomy with a strong mining sector and the Land Rent Scheme in the ACT continues to produce steady results,” Mr Keogh said.

By contrast. the two-speed economy is evident in Wagga Wagga as consumers remain very subdued and focused on saving, which grew our deposits by five per cent in the region.”

Mr Keogh said the overall business remained competitive and had recently attracted an investment grade rating from independent credit rating agency Standard and Poor’s.

“Despite the subdued financial services market we have delivered a solid profit and have also been able to invest considerably in our strategic direction, which culminated in rebranding from five brands to one and moving from credit union to mutual bank status on 1 August 2013,” Mr Keogh said.

“We also cemented our footprint in regional South Australia by completing a merger with Whyalla-based credit union Alliance One, which took effect on 1 July 2013.

“This activity and the financial results were achieved amidst an economic slowdown, low consumer confidence and Australians’ general apprehension about buying or selling properties.”

Looking to the year ahead, Mr Keogh said signs of economic optimism were emerging, however Beyond Bank Australia would continue its conservative approach to risk.

“We’re confident that having clearly articulated our offering under our new branding that we will continue to expand our customer base and ensure the long term sustainability of our business model,” he said.

With more than 200,000 members and assets under management approaching $4 billion, Beyond Bank Australia is one of the nation's largest customer-owned financial institutions. It operates 49 branches across SA, WA, Wagga Wagga, the Hunter Valley and the ACT, and provides banking services and wealth management, tax and accounting services. It also supports a range of community endeavours via the Beyond Bank Australia Foundation. For more information visit beyondbank.com.au

Before its launch as a 100% customer-owned bank on 1 August 2013, Beyond Bank Australia traded as the Community CPS Australia Credit Union Group, and was known as Wagga Mutual Credit Union, Companion Credit Union, Alliance One Credit Union and United Community Credit Union. The Community CPS Group was three-time winner of Money magazine’s Credit Union of the Year award (2012, 2008) and Best Credit Union (2005) and winner of the Mozo People’s Choice Award for Best Credit Union (2012).