The human touch – how this bank made Forbes’ global list

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    Newcastle Permanent recently received a distinction that set it apart from Australia’s big four majors. The customer-owned bank was named second best bank in Australia and the best of all Australian owned banks in Forbes’ World’s best banks list for 2021. According to CEO Bernadette Inglis (pictured), living the bank’s ethos of “Here for you, here for good” has helped to build trust in its people and brand over the course of generations.

    “To be recognised so positively through this international award program is quite a remarkable achievement for both Newcastle Permanent and for the Hunter region in particular,” she told MPA. “At 118 years old, Newcastle Permanent supports over a quarter of a million customers across regional and rural NSW, Sydney, interstate and overseas.

    “Our own customer satisfaction surveys regularly indicate our customers are highly satisfied with our service. Customer satisfaction for March was measured at 91% with this result higher than that of other mutual and major competitors.”

    Newcastle Permanent adapted quickly during the onset of the pandemic, swiftly moving to offer assistance packages to its customers and implement new technologies and practices, including the digital verification of identity.

    Read more: Digital verification of ID makes life easier for brokers and borrowers alike

    “Although advances and changes to customer preferences to banking digitally is changing the reliance on human interactions, we aim to offer banking with a human touch,” she said. “As a result, we enjoy a strong customer satisfaction from generations of our customers as we have maintained our presence over the course of our history.”

    Following a carefully considered COVID-19 safety plan, the bank remained open on weekdays across its branch network at the height of the pandemic, while offering phone and internet support for those who couldn’t interact on a face-to-face basis.

    “Offering that human-touch is critical to building trust in times of need,” she said. “Be that every day or during periods of challenge and crisis such as that we’ve experienced in the last 12 months through bushfires, floods, drought and the pandemic.

    Read more: Bank branches closing at fastest rate in 20 years

    “At Newcastle Permanent we measure our success on the value we offer our customers and build our resilience by being reflective, dynamic, authentic, and always learning from our people and our customers.

    “This continued commitment to evolving for our customers, while remaining true to our purpose, is what customers have recognised in the Forbes World’s Best Banks ranking.”

    Kate McIntyreKate McIntyre is an online writer for Mortgage Professional Australia. She has a wealth of experience as a storyteller and journalist for a range of leading media outlets, particularly in real estate, property investing and finance. She loves uncovering the heart behind every story and aims to inspire others through the artful simplicity of well-written words.
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