Being a mutual bank – run on behalf of our members, who are customers and equal owners – gives us an in-built ethical advantage. Our purpose is to benefit the people who bank with us, not to extract profit from them and distribute it to outside shareholders.
We know that many organisations, not just in banking, are jumping on the "ethical business" trend. Some are genuine about reshaping their conduct. Others see it as little more than a marketing opportunity - and rightly called out for it.
We work to earn the trust of our members by doing what is best for them – encouraging them towards financial products and services that benefit them, and away from financial products and services they don’t need or can’t afford. If our members have financial difficulties, we do what we reasonably can to help them. And when we make a mistake that impacts our members, we acknowledge it, take responsibility for it, and we fix it.
Mutual benefit extends naturally to our employees – many of whom are also members. All our employees, including those in our call centre, are based in Australia and are protected by Australian workplace rights. We provide fair and safe working conditions where people are valued by their contribution, and everyone has an equal opportunity based on their ability and experience. We promote ethical decision-making and never push or tempt staff to behave in a way that is unethical or that undermines our obligations to our members.
There are many positives to this, including mental health benefits. When people feel they are working with colleagues who are ethical, they have fewer mental health challenges.
To the best of our abilities and resources, we contribute to the wellbeing of our communities and provide a helping hand to those who need it.
While the expression ‘we are all in this together’ has been significantly overused, the fact is that we are. We have a collective responsibility to lift the standards and strengthen the values that make our society a fair and safe place.
In this spirit, Australian Mutual Bank established the Australian Mutuals Foundation. The Foundation supports Australian children and youth, assists remote and disadvantaged communities in impoverished South East Asian and South Pacific countries, and provides a mechanism for members of cooperatives and mutuals, and the general public, to make donations to assist those affected by natural disasters, in Australia or overseas.
We prioritise and prefer suppliers and third-party providers who share and live up to the same ethical values we hold. This applies, in particular, to people and organisations that we refer our members to for financial products and services such as insurance and financial planning and advice.
We expect other companies to be honest and transparent in their dealings with us and we reciprocate by adhering to the same standards.
We encourage and support our members to purchase green energy products, such as solar panels, by offering loans at a reduced rate and we are working to expand that to cover more products that reduce the harmful impact of human activity on our planet’s climate. To the extent that we can influence other people's environmental conduct, and be a good role model, we will.
Australian Mutual Bank has a comparatively small environmental footprint. Most of our banking services are now conducted on-line, which reduces the need for physical bank branches, and reduces our use of printed materials.
In line with our ethical approach, we do not invest our members’ funds in industries that may cause harm to the environment or to wildlife, contribute to climate change or hamper efforts to reduce carbon emissions. This extends beyond environmental issues, to areas such as gambling, weapons, and animal testing.
More information about Australian Mutual Bank’s environmental and sustainability credentials can be found in our annual Sustainability Report.
Australian Mutual Bank was certified as a B Corp in March 2022. To gain this certification we demonstrated that our words and intentions have been turned into meaningful and measurable actions and that we fulfil our promise to create a positive impact for our members, staff, suppliers, community, and the environment. There are currently 4,200 B Corps in 76 countries and more than 150 industries. You can learn more about B Corporations at www.bcorporation.net
While our intent is always to do what is right, we are far from perfect. There are many ways we can – and will – improve, such as in the way we source the products and services we use to operate our business, how we minimise waste and unnecessary consumption, and where we focus our charity and sponsorship funds. We always welcome your constructive feedback and thoughts on where we can do better.
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