Our journey so far
Since coming together in May 2019, the strength of our combined entity has enabled us to launch a new and improved mobile banking app, help around 17,000 members with personal loans to support their goals and provide home loans to almost 600 members, the majority of which we’ve helped purchase their first home. While we continue to operate as four brands, behind the scenes we have been working hard to align systems, processes, products, rates and fees to ensure we‘re providing you, our members, with the best solutions. This work doesn’t stop. Over the next financial year we will transition onto one banking platform, creating even greater consistency and improved member service.
Challenges and opportunities
The last 12 months have challenged us like never before, but also uncovered great opportunities. We welcomed new members and staff into Credit Union Baywide and, alongside our new team members, we completed a multitude of projects to start aligning systems and processes. We continue to juggle the operations and management of four brands, contact centres and admin centres. And most recently, we were hit by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic meant we had to adapt quickly to ensure we were able to continue supporting you through lockdown. We changed the way our people work to ensure we could continue providing our members with everyday banking services. We’ve also seen some of our members hit hard by the economic impact of Covid-19 and thrown into hardship unexpectedly. Wherever possible we’ve done what we can to support these families, including setting up loan repayment holidays, and other arrangements to help in the ‘tough times’. Throughout all of this our focus has remained the same. We exist to help kiwis achieve their financials goals. To do this, we need a successful and sustainable business model that ensures we can continue to grow, develop and remain relevant to both new and existing members.
Our need for change
Our world is changing and we need to adapt and continue to invest in new technology. Feedback from you, our members, has clearly identified a weakness in technology. We know we need to do better – not only for our current members, so you can interact with us how you want to, but also to attract new members to join the credit union. Over the last year following the merger of four credit unions into one, we have conducted an intensive review of our branch and operations network, and have been consulting with all staff over the last few weeks. What we found is that more of our members are increasingly opting to use alternative channels, such as our contact centre, phone banking, mobile banking and internet banking. This change in behaviour was then heightened through Covid-19 where we saw a further jump in the use of other channels. This has continued post Covid-19, even after the branches re-opened. Our review has illustrated a significant decrease in member visits to branches, averaging just 4 - 10 members a day in some branches. On the other hand, we’ve also reported a 17% increase in usage of our contact centre. Furthermore, we previously engaged with 1,000+ members and an additional 1,000+ non-members through an
independent research agency. The results showed that only 1% of those members surveyed intended to use a branch more regularly in the future and over 60% of those surveyed indicated they would use mobile and internet banking more
in the future.
How does your credit union compare?
In addition to our review that looked at member activity, we also compared ourselves to other New Zealand customerowned financial service providers. It became clear that Credit Union Baywide’s ratio of 31 branches on a total asset base of around $500 million is excessively high, particularly when compared to the likes of SBS Bank with 16 branches (total assets $2.5 billion) and The Cooperative Bank with around 30 branches (total assets $2.9 billion). First Credit Union with a similar membership base of around 60,000 members operates just 8 branches. We acknowledge that the breadth of our branch network provides a great member experience, however based on usage, the cost of operating this model is becoming increasingly challenging. Notably, a greater proportion of new members who join the credit union are choosing not to utilise our physical presence.
To ensure we can meet our obligations to our wider membership, continue to develop a modern and competitive alternative to mainstream banking in New Zealand and deliver services in a way that meets your evolving needs, your Board has made the decision to close 10 of our 31 branches nationwide. Alongside the closures, we are also creating 25 new roles - predominantly in the contact centre and digital services teams. Furthermore, we are increasing our investment in digital services over the current financial year, to reflect the changing needs of our 60,000 members.
The branches confirmed for closure are:
Changes to impacted branches
We understand the disappointment of this, and the impact on our loyal branch team members. The last day the impacted branches will be open is Friday 4th September 2020.
We will be doing all we can to help you through this change. Our friendly contact centre team is available to help you. You can also access your account and manage your banking 24/7 from wherever you need by registering for phone banking, internet banking and our mobile banking app. A summary of these follows.
Our teams are here to help support you through this transition and ensure you’re setup with the right channels. Please visit our websites or pop into the branch before 4th September 2020 and we’ll get you up and running with phone, internet banking and mobile banking. Plus, we’ll help setup all of your payees and bill payments and show you how easy it is to use. You can also visit our websites below for ‘how to’ guides and support tools if you ever need a hand with your phone, internet or mobile banking.
Delivering on our promise for efficiency
When you voted on the Transfer of Engagements last year, one of the key benefits promoted was the future delivery of efficiencies due to scale. The consolidation of our back office functions will provide cost-savings and remove duplication. Currently, we operate four contact centres. During late October and November we are consolidating these into two (and adding more team members) with the new structure offering improved member service and consistency. Other back office functions will also be further streamlined to remove duplication and reduce overheads, following the merger.
We acknowledge these changes will not meet the needs of all members but we have had to take the needs of the entire membership into account. This is a difficult time for all our loyal staff members who are impacted under this change. Every effort is being made to offer redeployment opportunities and assistance for them. We acknowledge that change is never easy and our thoughts are with our impacted staff.
Equally, we continue to have our members at the heart of everything we do. To ensure your credit union is resilient in the future and can continue to provide our unique service, we must evolve.
If you have any questions about these changes please feel free to call us on 0800 229 943 or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your support and loyalty.