Why we changed banks. Yeah, we think it matters.

We hadn't really considered how important who we banked with was until completing our 2015 B Corp assessment. Changing banks then became a no-brainer.


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The challenge

Our B Corp assessment process and certification challenged us to look deeply into our business processes. This was time consuming and pretty daunting for us. It was also very exciting.

Because laid out in front of us was a way to not only consider but to change those processes that weren’t really serving us, our business and ultimately our clients. And this continues today. It quickly became an every day thing.

We’re asking questions. Challenging the status quo. Making a ruckus. A far more exciting and satisfying way to run a business.

Sure, we could’ve just kept doing what we had been with the same old institutions and using the same old processes. Not asking too many questions etc. Basically continuing to pander to someone else’s mission. However we realised pretty quickly that wouldn’t benefit anyone, least of all ourselves.

You see our lofty goal is to make a real difference in the world, starting with our own backyard. And change on many levels was needed push this along.

This is when changing banks became a no-brainer.

Same same but different?

So yeah, we were with one of the big four. Let’s face it, is any bank really not ‘part’ of one of the big four? Hard to escape that completely.

Assuming (but not knowing) this, we dived head first into researching the banking available in Australia – looking for those who not only met as much of the ‘best for the world’ criteria set by B Lab (the non-profit that certifies all B Corp businesses) but also walked their talk. Remember, we’re talking banks here. This wasn’t an easy task.

We came up with a short list. A very short list.

And we decided on moving all banking over to Bank Australia, formerly mecu. And no, they are not a B Corp! Yet.

What they are is extremely helpful. They have this crazy thing going on called ‘customer service’. I know! How nuts is that! And they’re a bank!

We truly feel like we matter to this bank. That we are part of it and considered by them, regardless of our size. We don’t feel like the nondescript little guy being ignored and then bled dry by a behemoth.

Bank Australia are to this date, the only Australian bank that is part of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values. This means they share a commitment to build a more sustainable financial future that creates positive economic, social and environmental impact.

Discovering this was the deciding factor for us. What the bank does with (our) money matters to us and it should to you.

Here’s a few more specific talking points that helped us decide:

  • Bank Australia is Australia’s first 100% customer owned bank.
  • The bank is only answerable to its customers, not to external investors. The profits are reinvested in the bank to provide fairer fees and better interest rates.
  • Although Bank Australia is 100% owned by customers, it is still obliged to meet the same strict standards as all Australian banks – so banking with Bank Australia is safe and secure.
  • Bank Australia traces its heritage back to 1957.
  • It has 24 branches and nearly 130,000 customers.
  • Bank Australia has its own Conservation Reserve, a private nature reserve that it uses to offset the impacts of some of its products.
  • The bank plants trees in the Conservation Reserve to offset to emissions created by the cars it finances. It also recognises that habitat is cleared to make way for building new homes it finances, so it protects an equivalent amount of habitat in the Conservation Reserve to balance out that loss.
  • Bank Australia has not made and will not make any loans to the fossil fuel industry, including coal and coal seam gas projects.
  • Each year the bank invests up to 4% of after tax profits in initiatives which create environmental, social and economic outcomes through the Bank Australia Impact Fund.
  • Bank Australia does not offshore jobs. Its call centre and lending centre are based in regional Victoria, so by choosing Bank Australia as your financial institution you’re supporting local jobs.

Bank Australia has been awarded the CANSTAR Customer Owned Bank of the Year in recognition of the outstanding value it provides to its customers.

So you see, it really does matter where we bank. They can be more than just places to stash a few bucks, get loans and pay out credit card debt.

Disclaimer:

This is not an advertisement for Bank Australia. They are not a client of Seated Massage nor are they a B Corporation. It is solely us expressing our views. There are other banking institutions to look at if you are considering switching such as Bendigo Bank’s Community Sector Banking and Beyond Bank.

We encourage you to check them all out. Don’t simply look at their interest rates. Look at what they are doing in their communities, with their customers and where they invest your money. Ask questions. You have every right to.