People’s Choice declared “resilient” at 2014 AGM


At People’s Choice Credit Union’s 2014 Annual General Meeting (AGM), the Chair of the Board announced the achievement of solid results during the past financial year, despite another 12 months of subdued consumer confidence and challenging economic conditions.

“At last year’s AGM, we forecast a ‘slow and steady’ improvement in business conditions in the coming year, particularly after the Federal election,” said Mr John Cossons.

“Disappointingly, our expectations of a boost in consumer sentiment and business investment did not eventuate. Despite this, I’m proud to say that People’s Choice achieved year-on-year sales growth across our portfolio, demonstrating a resilient trend of sustainable business growth,” he announced, from The Playford in Adelaide this morning.

Mr Cossons announced a 9% increase in underlying profit after tax of $25.5 million for 2013/14, 6.82% growth in member retail deposits to $3.98 billion, a 3.13% increase in loan balances to $5.83 billion and total assets under management and advice $7.896 billion.

Mr Cossons hazarded that the mutual banking sector is at a critical point, outlining his expectations for fairer conditions following the long-awaited final recommendations of the Financial System Inquiry, expected in December.

“The sector’s 5% market share has deteriorated as the major banks have enjoyed a significant boost to their competitive position since the global financial crisis, thanks to Government-supported legislation and regulatory bias,” said Mr Cossons.

“If the Financial System Inquiry is to increase competition and lower financial costs for all Australians, it must address the unfair advantage enjoyed by the Big Four,” he said.

People’s Choice Managing Director, Mr Peter Evers, announced growth across the credit union’s product portfolio and maintenance of its competitive position in the market in 2013/14.

Investment in infrastructure – both physical and digital –, development of staff, and strengthening the economic and social wellbeing of members and the community remained top priorities for People’s Choice throughout 2013/14, with key outcomes announced including:

  • Industry-leading member growth, attracting 20,000 new members
  • Maintenance of the BBB+ / Stable / A2 credit rating, the highest ranking attainable by a mutual
  • A new strategic alliance with BT as wealth management partner
  • The launch of the next wave of mobile banking technology with Pay Easy, VISA Pay Tag and redi2PAY
  • Low staff turnover rate of 10% (vs. industry benchmark of 13%)
  • High employee engagement (87%), with staff raising $36,519 through workplace programs and contributing 1,277 hours of volunteering
  • $3.6 million generated for the community, making a difference to more than 1 million Australians.

Mr Evers also commented that construction of the new People’s Choice headquarters at 50 Flinders Street Adelaide is progressing well, and that the credit union is on track to move into the new premises by the end of 2015.

Virginia Hickey elected as new Director

Dr Rosemary Brooks was re-elected to the Board, while Virginia Hickey was elected as a new Director to the Board.

Ms Hickey is Director of corporate governance and board leadership consultancy @ the Board Table, is a Council Member of the National Competition Council and holds directorships with Safecom, Public Transport Victoria and Public Trustee South Australia of which she is Chair.

Ms Hickey holds a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Melbourne and a Bachelor of Arts from Monash University, and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Mr Cossons said that the Board was delighted that Ms Hickey would be joining as a Director.

“Virginia brings 15 years of leadership and governance experience to the Board, with a proven track record as a director of 14 companies, including Chair of TransAdelaide and the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman Council, and as a commercial lawyer and partner at Finlaysons.

“We look forward to working with Virginia and are confident she will make an excellent contribution to the future success of People’s Choice,” Mr Cossons said.

You can download the Chair and Managing Director’s addresses to the People’s Choice Credit Union 2014 AGM below:

2014 Chair's address

2014 Managing Director's address

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