If you thought the Singleton Newcastle Permanent branch had much to celebrate this week, you’re right.
The team joined customers in marking a special milestone on Tuesday, acknowledging 40 years of operations in the town since the branch opened its doors on 22 June 1981.
The merriment, however, was a swansong of sorts for The Perm’s Julianne Cull, who started at Singleton 32 years ago in 1989 and is on the cusp of retirement early next month.
“I joined Newcastle Permanent here in Singleton when the branch was just eight years old, so fairly new,” she said.
“Since then, I’ve held many roles in my time with Newcastle Permanent, starting as a member service officer before working my way up the ranks to be a supervisor, a branch manager and now a mobile lending manager helping people within our local community to step onto the property ladder or fund that personal goal.
“I have really enjoyed assisting young adults, whose parents or grandparents I once served, or who I used to give stamps to when they were little, to secure a Newcastle Permanent home loan.
“It’s been such a rewarding job.”
Julianne was joined by some of the branch’s loyal customers and her colleagues for a COVIDSafe cupcake birthday party celebration with the group reminiscing about all that the branch and its employees have seen during its four decades.
“It’s so wonderful to be able to recognise this 40-year achievement with some of our long-standing customers,” branch manager Lauren Simmons said.
“We really feel part of the community here.
“So, to have them join us makes the milestone even more special as we have each built strong relationships and rapport with customers and have a history of rolling up our sleeves in the local community.”
Among the locals in attendance was Peter Graham, who has been banking at the Singleton branch for 39 years.
“I started banking here in 1982,” he said.
“Since then, I’ve filled 44 Newcastle Permanent passbooks.
“The service is more personal than other financial institutions and the staff are just so friendly, which is why I’ve stayed with them for so long.
“I think 40 years is worth celebrating, the branch has kept its character and I’m pleased to be part of today.”
Julianne said although the community spirit and commitment to customers hadn’t waned in the past 40 years, the job she was retiring from was vastly different to the industry she started in.
“A lot has changed in how people conduct banking during my three decades with the organisation,” she added.
“In this time, I’ve seen the introduction of internet banking, plastic notes, the ATM, cash cards, computer technology, our app banking, credit cards, the phasing out of 1 and 2 cent coins and so much more.”
The team at Singleton is sure that if the walls of the branch could talk they’d likely tell interesting tales too: from continuing to assist customers through freak storms and even when the 1989 earthquake shook the branch at the end of Julianne’s first year at Singleton.
“I’ll really miss this place, the team and our amazing customers when I leave here,” she said.
“I will always be proud to have worked for the Perm and in roles that have helped so many of our local community.
“It’s been so great working in small country towns where you build relationships with customers and their families, which takes you out of the workspace and into the community.”
CEO Bernadette Inglis said Newcastle Permanent’s longevity in Singleton and the region was testament to its people and their passion for the organisation and customers.
“You only need to look to our 118-year history to see how we have shifted to adapt to changing banking needs and trends, with our people proudly making a difference to our customers and local communities every day,” she summed up.