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The $14.6 billion contribution that volunteers make to Australian society will receive a substantial boost from the nation’s newest customer-owned bank, Beyond Bank Australia, under a new three-year partnership with Volunteering Australia.

The 100 per cent customer-owned bank has become the major national partner of Volunteering Australia, which represents the nation’s six million volunteers and many of the 600,000 community groups that rely on the support of volunteers.

The three-year partnership was launched today in Canberra and will also underpin key activities, including orchestrating national conferences to showcase best practice, implementing a new research program, and continuing vital work in advocacy of the voluntary sector.

Beyond Bank Chief Executive Officer Robert Keogh says the partnership will help Volunteering Australia drive growth in the sector by removing social, economic and cultural barriers to volunteering and contribute to a stronger, more inclusive Australia.

“Australians are passionate about their communities and incredibly generous with their time and skills, with research showing they perform more than 700 million hours of unpaid work each year,” Mr Keogh said.

“Volunteers make an incredible contribution to every facet of life, from listening to children read at school, to those who help train guide dogs, plant trees, volunteer in emergency service to those who deliver hot meals to the frail and sick.

“The very act of volunteering helps organisations deliver their work for free or at a lower cost, and it also helps those groups to innovate and flourish. All of these individuals work together to make every suburb, town and city in Australia a better place to live.”

Mr Keogh said the partnership was a major initiative of the bank’s community strategy, which is focused on building stronger communities, and builds on the organisation’s strong track record with state-based volunteering bodies.

“Eighteen months ago we launched our Community Volunteers register which matches would-be volunteers with organisations needing help, this has proven to be very successful,” he said.

“Many of our 200,000 customers are volunteers themselves and our staff receive two paid days of volunteer leave each year in addition to volunteering extensively in their own time.
“As a values-based bank we are committed to supporting community initiatives in the key areas of health, education and environment. This partnership will help us achieve that as well as our goal of becoming the bank for volunteers and groups who rely on volunteers’ help.”

Volunteering Australia Chief Executive Officer Maureen Cane said the partnership with Beyond Bank Australia was part of a strategic growth phase.

“The not-for-profit sector contributes more than $43 billion per year to the Australian economy. This surpasses the value of tourism, agriculture or communications and the services and products delivered by these organisations enrich the lives of millions,” Ms Cane said.

“Our role is to provide leadership and to share best practice, knowledge and trends to support the contribution of Australian volunteers. We also work to promote and represent the interests of volunteers at a community and government level.

“We are thrilled to have Beyond Bank Australia on board for the next three years and look forward to working with them to build an even brighter nation for all of us.”

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 more than 50 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 mutual 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).