It’s pretty remarkable when you think about it, that Australia’s tenth listed bank is headquartered right here in Bundaberg. Auswide Bank is one of only two banks listed on the ASX (Australian Stock Exchange) that can lay claim to being based in a regional community. It’s a simple fact that speaks volumes about the culture and priorities of the company. It has also earned Auswide loyalty from both employees and customers.  

Auswide Bank has had just two managing directors in 55 years – the founder, Ron Hancock, and current boss, Martin Barrett (pictured). Everyone in Bundaberg knows someone who, at one point or another, has put food on their table by working at Auswide. 

They have customers who have been with them from the very beginning, when they were Burnett Permanent Building Society, formed by locals in 1966. They merged with Maryborough Permanent Building Society to form Wide Bay Capricorn Building Society, and later rebranded to Wide Bay Australia. 

Martin, who joined the company in 2013 and turned it into the Auswide Bank we know today, said customers often became attach  ed to the bank they started with, but that was changing due to events like the Banking Royal Commission. 

“Banking is not really something people wake up in the morning and say: ‘I’m going to go and change my bank today’,” he said. “It usually takes something to jolt them out of that familiarity, whether it be a life-changing event like buying a house or they get peeved off and can’t get a resolution. At Auswide we are working hard to keep those loyal customers, but also attract the attention of the ones that aren’t happy with their existing bank.”       

He said Auswide remained true to its building society origins as a ‘big hearted bank’ that wanted to help real people achieve their dreams of home ownership. “Any decisions we make, we stress over making sure any impact on customers is fair,” Martin said. “We’re a commercial organisation so there will always be some fees and charges, but on things like term deposit rates and lending rates, I’d be very surprised if we’re not better than the so-called ‘Big Four’. Our customers like the fact they can pick up the phone and speak to a real person, who’s not based in an overseas call centre. We have about 275 staff across Australia and 120 of them are right here in Bundy.”  

Bank with Auswide www.auswidebankltd.com.au 1300 138 831