What's a credit union? CUA to rebrand as 'Great Southern Bank'

author-avatar By on February 02, 2021
What's a credit union? CUA to rebrand as 'Great Southern Bank'

Australia's largest credit union CUA is rebranding as 'Great Southern Bank', transitioning to trade as a 'bank' in 2021.

Update 1 June 2021: CUA has officially become 'Great Southern Bank'. 

Bank CEO Paul Lewis said: "This is the tip of the iceberg for Great Southern Bank". 

“We are a vibrant alternative to the big four banks.

“The difference is we reinvest 100% of our profit back into our customers, rather than paying that money out to shareholders.

“We decided to change our name because our research showed us clearly that half of the country doesn’t know what a credit union is.

“Now everyone will know that we can challenge the big four banks, without being one of them.”

Below last updated 2 February 2021.

The Brisbane-based credit union has registered new business names and domain addresses to reflect the rebrand, as reported in Banking Day.

CUA chief Paul Lewis said the change comes after a concerted effort to emphasise banking products to consumers, with research showing nearly half of Australians did not know what being a 'credit union' actually meant.

“If you’re the largest [credit union] and you’re having to not only promote your own brand but actually promote what the category is ... that becomes a bit of a burden and an opportunity cost,” he told the Financial Review.

“There are people that are frivolous and say, ‘People don’t go online to do their ‘credit unioning,'". 

Buying a home or looking to refinance? The table below features home loans with some of the lowest interest rates on the market for owner occupiers.

Base criteria of: a $400,000 loan amount, variable, fixed, principal and interest (P&I) home loans with an LVR (loan-to-value) ratio of at least 80%. However, the ‘Compare Home Loans’ table allows for calculations to made on variables as selected and input by the user. All products will list the LVR with the product and rate which are clearly published on the Product Provider’s web site. Monthly repayments, once the base criteria are altered by the user, will be based on the selected products’ advertised rates and determined by the loan amount, repayment type, loan term and LVR as input by the user/you.

CUA has been trading with 'credit union' in its name for upwards of 70 years, starting off as the 'Thrift and Loan CU' in 1946, and has grown to become Australia's largest credit union with upwards of half a million members.

Credit unions and mutuals rebranding to include 'bank' in the name is not new.

For example, Toowoomba-based Heritage Bank began as Toowoomba Permanent Building Society in 1875, and rebranded in 2011.

Bank Australia began as the CSIRO Cooperative Credit Society in 1957, and rebranded in 2015.

CEO of the Customer Owned Banking Association (COBA) Michael Lawrence told Savings.com.au the CUA rebrand is commercial in nature.

“COBA’s members are exploring opportunities to build and capitalise on growth that is occurring for the customer owned banking sector at large," he said.

"Regardless of name changes, the customer owned model remains at the core of our sector. Members are on the front foot of communicating this distinctive and appealing customer-centric approach to a diverse Australian population, including younger generations.”

The sector of the banking industry known as 'customer owned banks' experienced mixed results in 2020. 

Mr Lawrence said across customer owned institutions, residential lending had increased 3.0% through the year to November 2020, while deposits increased by 7.0%.

"This has been a tough year for all, but our members continue to prioritise the needs of their customers as the economy looks to the recovery phase,” he said.

"This market share underlines the fact that customer owned banking institutions continue to be seen as an attractive proposition for customers."

A review of customer owned banks by KPMG earlier in 2020 revealed 70% of surveyed institutions feel confident in their three-year growth prospects, up from 63% in 2019.


Image Source: CUA 

Disclaimers

The entire market was not considered in selecting the above products. Rather, a cut-down portion of the market has been considered which includes retail products from at least the big four banks, the top 10 customer-owned institutions and Australia’s larger non-banks:

  • The big four banks are: ANZ, CBA, NAB and Westpac
  • The top 10 customer-owned Institutions are the ten largest mutual banks, credit unions and building societies in Australia, ranked by assets under management in November 2020. They are (in descending order): Great Southern Bank, Newcastle Permanent, Heritage Bank, Peoples’ Choice Credit Union, Teachers Mutual Bank, Greater Bank, IMB Bank, Beyond Bank, Bank Australia and P&N Bank.
  • The larger non-bank lenders are those who (in 2020) has more than $9 billion in Australian funded loans and advances. These groups are: Resimac, Pepper, Liberty and Firstmac.
  • If you click on a product link and you are referred to a Product or Service Provider’s web page, it is highly likely that a commercial relationship exists between that Product or Service Provider and Savings.com.au

Some providers' products may not be available in all states. To be considered, the product and rate must be clearly published on the product provider's web site.

In the interests of full disclosure, Savings.com.au, Performance Drive and Loans.com.au are part of the Firstmac Group. To read about how Savings.com.au manages potential conflicts of interest, along with how we get paid, please click through onto the web site links.

*Comparison rate is based on a loan of $150,000 over a term of 25 years. Please note the comparison rate only applies to the examples given. Different loan amounts and terms will result in different comparison rates. Costs such as redraw fees and costs savings, such as fee waivers, are not included in the comparison rate but may influence the cost of the loan.

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Harrison is a Senior Finance Journalist, and joined Savings in 2020. Prior to joining Savings, he worked for some of Australia's largest comparison sites and media organisations. With a keen interest in the economy, housing policy, and personal finance, Harrison is passionate about informing readers on the strings being pulled in high-up places and how it affects everyday Australians.

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