In a landmark first for the Hunter-based organisation, the Newcastle Greater Mutual Group (NGM Group) has announced a $72.9 million profit.
It’s a fantastic achievement following the merger of the Newcastle Permanent and Greater Bank in March.
With more than 600,000 customers in total, NGM Group boasts net assets of $1.7 billion and regulatory capital of $1.6 billion, making it one of the best capitalised ADIs (Authorised Deposit-taking Institutions) in Australia.
Chair Wayne Russell admitted the strong results were evidence it had realised its potential as a regional financial powerhouse.
“NGM Group’s net profit after tax was $72.9 million, which is an illustration of our strength and sound underlying profitability, considering the challenging operating environment,” he said.
“Both our brands have continued to support customers in increasing volume since our historic merger, with Greater Bank and Newcastle Permanent growing deposits, lending and customers.
“Perhaps the most pleasing aspect of these results is not what it shows about the past 12 months, but how it sets us up for the future.
“NGM Group has an extremely strong foundation on which to build and grow – and right here in the Hunter.
“This strength will be critical in continuing to deliver on the commitments we made to our members as part of the merger, to provide financial strength and resilience for the organisation.”
INVESTING IN A CUSTOMER-FIRST FUTURE
In announcing the strong result, NGM Group CEO Bernadette Inglis also highlighted a number of key investments and innovations.
“As a customer-owned institution, providing exceptional service is every bit as important as the bottom line and we have made some considered investments over the past 12 months,” she said.
“That 97% of our transactions occur digitally or on card is both an illustration of where our customers do the bulk of their banking, as well as an endorsement of the digital experience our brands offer.
“Our award-winning apps and internet banking are recognised for their simplicity and ease of use – the result of continuous enhancement by our team – and we are excited to share further updates with our customers in the coming 12 months.
“We launched a cutting-edge digital home loan for Newcastle Permanent, with work well progressed on rollout to our Greater Bank brand, while the technology integration of our Hunter-based call centres ensures our digital future still maintains that vital human touch.
“In an environment of more sophisticated scams and financial crimes, we continued to invest in our fraud and scam detection and prevention activities, implementing a range of systems enhancements.
“We know this is really important to our customers, so we also proactively offer education resources and run awareness campaigns on how our customers can protect themselves.
“Branches remain an important part of our future and, collectively, we invested $3.5 million towards refurbishing and updating branches.
“Both Greater Bank and Newcastle Permanent recommitted to Lismore by opening new outlets following the devastating floods in the region, while Newcastle Permanent’s Kotara, Kurri Kurri and Ballina branches were fully-refurbished, and Greater Bank relocated and opened a new Kotara branch.”
HELPING ALMOST 10,000 HOMEOWNERS FIND GREAT VALUE LOANS
In what was a challenging operating environment, underlined by the Reserve Bank of Australia’s multiple interest rate increases, the NGM Group sought to balance customer outcomes, while staying true to both brands’ founding purpose.
“Across our combined history of more than 200 years, helping customers into their homes has always been at the core of our business and we are proud to have assisted 9,967 people with new home loans this past year, more than 1,200 of which were first homebuyers,” Ms Inglis said.
“Despite rising interest rates and slowing credit growth in the Australian market, in the months following the merger, both brands grew home loan balances, taking total home loan balances for NGM Group to $15.3 billion.
“Our arrears rate remains a point of pride and our customers are paying off their home loans faster, with 90% ahead.
“With increasing interest rates and cost of living pressures, we’ll continue to work with and support our customers through these challenges.”
On the other side of interest rate increases is the deposit balances of $16.5 billion, which reflect increases in deposit products across the NGM Group and which Ms Inglis described as “outstanding”.
SUPPORTING MORE CUSTOMERS
The organisation is reporting a double-digit increase in new customers.
“NGM Group is reporting a 15% uplift in new customer growth, taking our total to over 600,000,” Ms Inglis added.
“In merging two Hunter-based companies with a similar geographic footprint, a commitment to mutuality, and closely held values established over decades, continuing to grow our customer base was recognised as being a key challenge – and one our people have taken on with great enthusiasm.
“We’re excited to share our plans to expand our base in the coming year, with a strong agenda to grow our deposits and lending customers.
“Having identified opportunities to deepen our market share within our footprint, we’re also planning to expand our offerings into new regions.”
BUILDING A REGIONAL FINANCIAL POWERHOUSE
As one of the region’s largest employers, creating more opportunities for its people and enabling them to forge rewarding and diverse careers at home was a key tenant of the merger proposal.
“In coming together, we took deliberate action to support the wellbeing of our 1,600-strong workforce, including by prioritising team and operational systems integration,” Ms Inglis said.
“Setting culture and organisational values, providing clarity for our people early in our integration journey, has been the right approach for us.
“Our first employee engagement survey achieved a 92% participation rate and an overall result that placed NGM Group close to the top quarter percentile globally.
“This is a remarkable achievement for an organisation that was less than three months old at the time.
“I take the opportunity to acknowledge the incredible contribution of our people to the standout result we are announcing today.”
HELPING OUR CUSTOMERS AND COMMUNITIES THRIVE
NGM Group’s mutuality is a key differentiator in the banking environment, with an ongoing financial commitment to the communities it serves.
“Heading into the merger, both brands and their respective charitable foundations had a collective spend of $4.5 million per year in community support, and we made a pledge to maintain that financial commitment,” Ms Inglis said.
“A total investment in our communities of more than $5 million this past year is evidence we have every intention of continuing to play a key role in helping our customers and communities thrive – and that $5 million flowing back into the community is four times more per customer than the major banks.
“People bank with us because they know, as a customer-owned institution, we are part of the fabric of our communities.
“We don’t see healthy, vibrant communities, we live them.”
NGM Group highlights
- Net profit after tax of $72.9 million, enabling continued investment in customers and technology in uncertain times
- Total assets of $20.1 billion, with net assets of $1.7 billion and regulatory capital of $1.6 billion, making NGM Group one of the best capitalised ADIs (Authorised Deposit-taking Institutions) in Australia
- The only Australian bank with two brands in the top 10 of the 2023 Forbes’ World’s Best Banks rankings – with Newcastle Permanent ranked first and Greater Bank sixth – along with more than 20 additional awards across the group
- More than 600,000 customers in total, with a home-loan portfolio of $15.3 billion and customer deposits of $16.5 billion
- About 90% of customers ahead on their home loan, with a current 90-day delinquency rate among the best in industry at 0.09%
- Customer growth, with a 15% increase in new customers acquired year-on-year
- With 97% of customer transactions occurring digitally or on card, the Group has continued its focus on enhancing technology, with ongoing work on award-winning apps and the launch of a cutting-edge digital home loan
- An investment of $3.5 million in branch refurbishments and updates, part of an ongoing commitment to branches
- Invested more than $5 million in communities, continuing a long history of local support
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