Regional Australia Bank celebrated its official launch on Friday night with a spirited event designed to mark the occasion at Armidale Town Hall.
Regional Australia Bank is the new name for The Community Mutual Group – and it’s a marker of the Bank’s particular focus on all the things that make regional Australia special.
The launch event was attended by more than 150 people, organisations and media groups, including the Customer Owned Banking Association, Business Council of Cooperatives and Mutuals, CanStar, Armidale Regional Council, Regional Development Australia and the University of New England – and following a reception dinner and drinks, the crowd was entertained by several prominent speakers with a special interest in regional Australia.
Regional Australia Bank Chief Marketing Officer and Co-Conceiver of the Regional Australia Bank Brand, Mr Darren Schaefer, kicked off proceedings with a warmly-received welcome and alluring video depicting what it means to be ‘Regional’. Mark Degotardi, CEO, Customer Owned Banking Association, followed with an enlightening account of why customer owned bankingexists and the concept of ‘fifth pillar’ banking.
Melina Morrison, CEO, Banking Council of Cooperatives and Mutuals discussed the relevance of cooperatives to regional areas. Ms Morrison said that the role of cooperatives and mutuals in the Australian economy is huge with 8 in 10 Australians being members of at least one mutual organisation. Ms Morrison finished off by saying that Regional Australia Bank is an audacious name and she believes that Regional Australia Bank is the perfect capital partner for other cooperatives in regional communities.
Mr Adam Marshall MP, NSW State Member for Northern Tablelands reflected on his introduction to the concept of Regional Australia Bank. He commented that he wasn’t too sure initially but now he feels it is incredibly positive. He said Regional Australia Bank gives a feeling of strength, robustness, and certainness but also maintains the relationship with its members and the communities. Mr Marshall says this is what is absolutely vital, and it is Regional Australia Bank’s point of difference.
Then it was over to Regional Bank Australia CEO Kevin Dupé and Chief Marketing Officer Darren Schaefer to deliver the ‘what’s, why’s and how’s’, reflecting on the organisation’s role, responsibilities and community initiatives following the adoption of its purposeful new moniker.
In addition to the evening’s entertainment, the Bank took the opportunity to reaffirm its commitment to a number of community causes. With more than 5% of RegionalAustralia Bank’s profits given back to local communities in the form of sponsorships, donations, grass roots community initiatives and small infrastructure projects, theBank’s work with regional communities is all about supporting them to thrive.
Last year, the Bank’s Community Partnership Program donated $627,365.01 to community groups – and this year, the organisation has set its sights firmly on some very worthy local causes. They include the National Rugby Camps, whose mission to provide quality coaching to regional juniors is actively supported by the Bank and BackTrack a ‘youth-at-risk’ program that places young people who are struggling to cope with school into more functional learning environments.
During the proceedings, the Bank also announced two milestone naming rights partnerships. One with the Woolgoolga Curry Fest and the other with the Tamworth Business Chamber Quality Business Awards. Both sponsorship opportunities being designed to foster even stronger relationships with our local communities.
The event was hailed a great success by those attending, and at the end of the evening Regional Bank Australia CEO Kevin Dupé had nothing but praise for an immensely enjoyable night, and a bright new beginning for the organisation whose priority to act as champions for regional prosperity makes it a genuine and compelling alternative to the ‘Big Four’ banks:
“Congratulations to everyone for making this a remarkable institution. I’m immensely proud of what we have achieved together and to those who are not on board, you’re missing out.”