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Members and Community Profit from New Business Strategy

27 August 2018 |Industry Updates

Members and Community Profit from New Business Strategy

27 August 2018 |Industry Updates

Geelong locals are getting behind AWA Alliance Bank. Dave Cairns for the Geelong Advertiser reports on the reinvention of the business and it's brand.

ARTICLE: Geelong Advertiser. August 27, 2018.

A reinvention of the credit union that provided banking services to Alcoa workers has led to the writing of more than $150 million in loans for 634 new members since the closure of the Point Henry plant.

The credit union’s transition to a social enterprise in the business of banking has also seen it help fund two major community projects.

Graeme Scannell and Seb Laoder standing in front of the stadium.
Graeme Scannell, CEO of AWA, and Seb Loader from Basketball Geelong.

Now known as the AWA Alliance Bank, all profits go to members and the community under its revised business model.

The former AWA Credit Union was based at Alcoa’s Point Henry site for about 45 years. 

Chief executive officer Graeme Scannell said a move to the CBD in 2014, due to the closure of the plant, coincided with some major structural changes to the former credit union’s business model for it to remain competitive in the financial services market.

“A considerable amount of planning, research and due diligence conducted over several years was spent in the development of a new business model in conjunction with a new business partner, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank,” Mr Scannell said.

In March 2015, the partnership was finalised with the Alliance Bank retaining its identity and autonomy for decision-making while the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank took responsibility for much of the regulatory and compliance overheads.

Mr Scannell said the deal allowed the introduction of new products, services and community investment.

“Our revised business strategy is structured around a social enterprise philosophy which enables us to broaden our operation from a member focus, to one that also provides wider community benefits."

“This is achieved through the establishment of partnerships with various community stakeholders, including shared value partnerships where we share our margin with the partner in return for referred patronage.

The closure of the Alcoa plant at Point Henry resulted in the loss of several hundred jobs and the loss of the immeasurable flow-on benefits to the Geelong economy.

“But under our new business model we are now able to deliver community benefits with a strong focus on the simple philosophy that we want to ‘feed into the prosperity of our communities and not off them’,” Mr Scannell said.

“Our social enterprise and community building mandate means we return the majority of profit to members and their communities.” 

Community projects supported by AWA Alliance Bank include Basketball Geelong, (helping to provide six new courts); East Belmont Cricket Club (helping to provide new change rooms and upgraded training facilities); and Sail & Adventure Ltd (helping to restore the Alma Doepel, a 115-year-old tall ship, to enable her to resume her work with disadvantaged youth).


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Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited, ABN 11 068 049 178 AFSL / Australian Credit Licence 237879. AWA Mutual Limited®, BDCU Limited®, CIRCLE Mutual Limited®, NOVA Mutual Limited® and SERVICE ONE Mutual Limited® (Alliance partners) are independent mutual entities that have formed an alliance with Bendigo and Adelaide Bank. AWA Alliance Bank®, BDCU Alliance Bank®, CIRCLE Alliance Bank®, NOVA Alliance Bank® and SERVICE ONE Alliance Bank® are trademarks of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited.

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