Are you interested in switching banks? If you’re wanting to join a bank where it's owned by its customers rather than shareholders, then a mutual bank could be your ideal choice.
What is a Mutual Bank?
A mutual bank offers the same products and services as traditional banks, with one crucial difference: it is owned by its customers, rather than external shareholders. Often referred to as “members”, account holders of a mutual bank would therefore share a collective stake in major policy decisions and have a vested interest in the institution’s success.
Mutual banks in the sector are known as customer-owned banks. Unlike traditional banks where profits are given to their shareholders, the profits made at a customer-owned bank goes back to the customers that aims to benefit them. This could be offering banking products with competitive rates and fairer fees, giving back to charities and community initiatives, or having their equal say in the governance of the company.
You can watch the video to learn more about what it means to join a customer-owned bank:
Being smaller than retail banks, mutuals may be better able to comprehend your unique needs and offer solutions customised to your situation.
The benefits of joining a mutual owned bank
A customer-centric approach
One of the main advantages to joining a mutual-owned bank is its priority of putting customers first. The profits they make aren’t funnelled outside to private investors or stockholders, and instead put back into the bank itself. This typically means improving their current products, services, and overall member experience, providing their customers with greater value.
This approach extends to personalised customer care and solutions. Being smaller than retail banks, mutuals may be better able to comprehend your unique needs and offer solutions customised to your situation. They often value your financial goals and journey and are committed to guiding you through it.
According to the KPMG report Sector Impact Assessment of Customer Owned Banking in Australia, the contribution of customer-owned banks has a positive impact to people and communities in which they operate, providing generous donations and volunteering
Product and service variety
On top of its customer-focused ethos, mutual banks often provide the same diverse range of products and services you’d find at a traditional bank. From savings and loans to investment opportunities, they typically deliver a full spectrum of financial tools designed to help you navigate your financial goals – often with the added benefit of being tailor-made to your unique needs and circumstance.
For instance, Qudos Bank offer a wide selection of products dedicated to varying situations, including home loans and savings accounts. This also includes a range of financial calculators and a trusted mobile app to make your banking more accessible. Support is also just a call or an online form away, helping us address queries as soon as possible.
Our offerings have been recognised across multiple awards including more recently, Canstar’s Customer-Owned Bank of the Year Award 2023 and Mozo’s Expert Choice Award, Customer-Owned Bank of the Year 2023.
We help our customers feel valued and ensure our initiatives align with their financial aspirations and principles.
Member participation and voting rights
As a member of a mutual bank, your voice matters. You may be able to participate in crucial matters such as electing the board of directors, shaping policies, and sharing your concerns. This direct involvement aims to create a sense of ownership and community, and helps you ensure your interests are represented. It allows you to actively contribute to the institution’s direction and help improve the financial experience for current and future customers.
For instance, our eligible members are offered one vote each on any matters or proposals impacting Qudos Bank’s future management. Our members are placed at the forefront of every decision, which could include appointing new Board members and constitutional amendments. By upholding fair, democratic governance, we help our customers feel valued and ensure our initiatives align with their financial aspirations and principles.
At Qudos Bank, we regularly donate to charity organisations across Australia, helping support local communities and environmental initiatives.
Make an impact on your community
With a mutual bank, you could make a meaningful impact beyond your personal finances. These banks often have a strong commitment to giving back to their community, with a portion of their profits likely directed towards charitable initiatives, local projects, and causes that benefit the wider society. You could thus indirectly contribute to positive change, knowing your financial institution is actively working to enhance the well-being of others.
At Qudos Bank, we regularly donate to charity organisations across Australia, helping support local communities and environmental initiatives. This has included our partnership with Greenfleet, where we’ve contributed to planting around 56,000 trees by supporting their reforestation projects. Our support also extends to various non-profit groups such as the Black Dog Institute, Variety, and Foodbank – helping initiatives supporting mental health, the disadvantaged, and food relief.
Competitive interest rates
Finally, joining a mutual bank could offer the advantage of competitive interest rates. Since most of the bank’s earnings are reinvested into their services, members often enjoy the benefit of favourable rates across savings accounts, loans, and other financial products. As such, you may have the opportunity of maximising your savings and optimising your borrowing costs.
For example, we offer competitive interest rates across our various loans and savings accounts, helping members reach their financial goals faster. Our Qantas Points Saver, for instance, could help you to earn more on interest payments while having zero account keeping fees and the ability to earn Qantas Points* per annum.
Thinking of making the switch to a mutual?
If you’re looking to join a bank where profits are returned to benefit the customers, then joining a mutual bank may be the best option.
Consider getting in touch today to explore how our savings products could help you accelerate towards your financial goals with Qudos Bank.
Customer Owned Banking Association. 2023. “Customer-owned banks punch above their weight on community, economic impact”. COBA article | Customer-owned banks punch above their weight on community, economic impact – KPMG study finds (customerownedbanking.asn.au).
The information in this article is of a general nature and has been prepared without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on the advice, consider its appropriateness to your objectives, financial situation and needs. Before opening an account with us, you should read our Terms and Conditions for Savings Accounts and Payment Services and Financial Services Guide.
*Qantas Points accrue in accordance with and subject to the Qantas Points Banking Terms and Conditions. You must be a member of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program to earn and redeem Qantas Points. A joining fee may apply, however, Qudos Bank has arranged to provide Qantas Frequent Flyer membership with the joining fee waived to Qudos Bank members who are not already a Qantas Frequent Flyer member and who apply at qantas.com/joinffqudos. Membership and the earning and redemption of Qantas Points are subject to the terms and conditions of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program available online at qantas.com/terms. This offer is non transferable and not available in conjunction with any other offer. Qantas Frequent Flyer membership and each application is subject to approval by Qantas. Qudos Bank recommends that you seek independent tax advice in respect of the tax consequences (including fringe benefits tax, and goods and services tax and income tax) arising from the use of this product or from participating in the Qantas Frequent Flyer program or from using any of the rewards or other available program facilities.
Qudos Bank is the issuer, offeror and administrator of the Qantas Points Banking Products and is a credit provider and credit licensee under National Consumer Credit laws. The Target Market Determination for the Qantas Points Bonus Saver can be found at https://www.qudosbank.com.au/support/legal/target-market-determinations/
Qudos Mutual Limited trading as Qudos Bank ABN 53 087 650 557 AFSL/Australian Credit Licence 238 305.
Published November 2023