The Chair of People’s Choice, John Cossons, has outlined the credit union’s outstanding performance in 2015/16 at its Annual General Meeting, highlighting strong membership growth and profit, and an increase in total assets under management and advice to almost $10 billion.
“As a result of our continued focus on delivering to our members we have had a very successful year,” Mr Cossons said.
People’s Choice welcomed 23,457 new members during the reporting period, achieved a net profit after tax of $35.95 million (up from $25.66 million in the prior year), and built total funds under management and advice to a record $9.64 billion – a 7% increase.
“While we are not in the business of generating large profits for shareholders like the major banks, it is important that People’s Choice develops the necessary profit each year to ensure our long-term sustainability, to invest prudently in improving products and services for members, and to make a difference to the community,” Mr Cossons said.
Addressing his first People’s Choice AGM as CEO, Steve Laidlaw detailed how the credit union was successfully pursuing its focus to be the preferred banking alternative and build a stronger credit union while making a difference in the community.
“Because our owners are our customers, we have a purity of purpose which is to do the right thing by our members,” Mr Laidlaw said.
“There are many Australians who are disaffected with the big banks and we have to let them know that People’s Choice stands as a real alternative,” he said.
“Of the thousands of new members we welcomed during 2015/16, 44% were under 30 years, demonstrating our ability to attract new generations through our compelling brand and the benefits of membership,” he said.
“In 2015/16 we launched a new internet banking platform with a number of enhancements based on member feedback. We upgraded our mobile banking apps and increased online security, and we replaced or upgraded 130 rediATMs to improve access and functionality for members,” he said.
Mr Laidlaw also said People’s Choice remains firmly committed to supporting the economic and social wellbeing of members and the community.
“We contributed 3.1% of pre-tax profit to corporate community investment during 2015/16, five times the 0.61% average contribution* made by major Australian and New Zealand companies,” Mr Laidlaw said.
“In all, we generated $3.4 million for the community during the year and made a difference to close to one million Australians,” he said.
A further highlight of the year was the success of the organisation’s new five-star green-rated head office on Flinders Street in Adelaide.
“Our new activity-based working style and smaller footprint has reduced energy bills and maintenance costs, and the site’s functional efficiencies are giving us the agility and focus we need to ensure that everything we do is in the best interests of our members,” Mr Laidlaw said.
The sustained engagement of staff was demonstrated by the results of a Values & Engagement Survey, with 88% staff engagement and 91% of staff agreeing the credit union is living up to its values – both of which significantly exceed industry and corporate benchmarks.
“With everyone working together, and keeping our members at the forefront of everything we do, People’s Choice is well placed to achieve our Vision to be acknowledged as the most trusted financial services provider in Australia,” Mr Laidlaw said.
The AGM also welcomed the appointment by the Board of a new non-executive Director, John Patton. With extensive retail banking and risk experience including in the mutual sector, and a background as a chartered accountant, John was appointed following a rigorous selection process to ensure the Board has the appropriate mix of experience and skills to govern in the best interests of members. Retiring Director Mark Day was thanked him for his outstanding commitment and 10 years of service to People’s Choice, Chair John Cossons and Director Jan McMahon were re-elected to the Board, and the resolution to approve Director remuneration was approved by a show of hands.