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Media Release

BankSA continues to grow support for South Australians through year of challenges

Monday, 2 November 2020

BankSA has continued its support of South Australians in a year marked by bushfires and COVID-19, with growth in consumer lending and deposits for the year ended 30 September 2020.

BankSA CEO, Nick Reade, said the bank’s commitment to supporting consumer and business customers, and encouraging activity in the South Australian economy, remained strong.

“We’ve worked hard to support all our customers – for some that has meant access to funding to support new plans and goals, for others it has meant helping them navigate through difficult times.”

Key results for the year ended 30 September 2020 compared to the previous comparable period include:

  • Consumer bank home loans increased 4%
  • Business lending decreased 3%
  • Lending to agriculture customers increased 8%
  • Deposits increased 10%

Mr Reade said that while business lending overall was less than in previous years due to the economic impacts of COVID-19, a significant amount of support has been provided to thousands of local businesses in support packages and repayment deferrals.

“We know that small businesses are the backbone of our local economy and we’re committed to supporting them to recover and grow, following an extremely difficult time.

“Encouragingly, agricultural customers have largely experienced a very good year, with our lending to this segment up 8 per cent – reflecting good seasonal conditions and increased confidence to make decisions and invest.

“Agriculture is a significant contributor to our state’s GSP so it’s pleasing to see our regional customers doing well after some tough past seasons that have been adversely impacted by drought.”

Mr Reade said that despite the tough economic conditions, he was pleased that the bank’s customer base continued to grow.

“BankSA has continued to support more South Australians this year, whether it be to buy a home, start and grow a businesses, or transform their current business to offer new ways of serving customers,” Mr Reade said.

“We’ve responded to customers’ changing priorities during the year including a continued trend towards using digital banking – with digital sales up 27 per cent compared to the previous year - and an appetite to strengthen their own financial position, which has been evident in a 10 per cent increase in deposits.”

“These results reflect our focus of putting the needs of our customers first and foremost in every interaction and I’m confident that this genuine care has been felt by our customers across the board, regardless of their circumstances this year,” said Mr Reade.

Enhancing customer experience

BankSA continued to enhance customer experience with the introduction of Apple Pay offering customers a fast, easy and secure way to pay with an iPhone or Apple Watch in stores, restaurants, taxis, vending machines and many more places.

Customers can now connect with their banker more easily following the roll-out of iPhones for all bankers and lenders across BankSA. This initiative not only makes it easier for customers to call their banker directly when they need help, but is also an important tool as more customers seek to transition to the convenience of online banking services.

“We are listening to our customers and responding by making it easier for them to talk to us and do their banking in a way that suits them,” said Mr Reade.

Community support strengthens

BankSA’s support for the South Australian community was strengthened this year, amidst the bushfires and COVID-19 challenges.

In addition to relief and support packages for customers, a range of localised support was provided to impacted communities. During the bushfires, this included the delivery of 19 generators to locals left without access to power on Kangaroo Island.

Most recently, BankSA Foundation1 announced grants of more than $128,000 for the ongoing work to rebuild and support communities affected in the Kangaroo Island and Adelaide Hills fires.

BankSA Foundation also provided special COVID-19 emergency relief of $30,000 funding to six community organisations ($5,000 each) to help them adapt and respond to increased community needs and a changing operating environment during this time.

This funding was in addition to $322,801 including community grants to seven charity partners, the second instalment to the Foundation’s multi-year grant partner, and other discretionary payments. This support will benefit thousands of South Australians, both directly and indirectly.

BankSA continued its support to South Australians experiencing homelessness via Vinnies’ CEO Sleepout for the seventh consecutive year. With $1,094,054 million in fundraising over this time, led by Chief Executive Nick Reade and staff, it was recognised as the highest cumulative amount raised in the history of the national event.

“The team at BankSA is passionate about supporting our customers and communities – in good times and bad – whether it be tailoring solutions to help our customers or raising valuable funds for people doing it tough.”

BankSA was also pleased to back another record-breaking event for the Adelaide Fringe as Principal Partner of the iconic event for the 15th year. As a generator of significant economic benefit for the state, BankSA’s key support initiatives are aimed at increasing participation in the event and contributing to its ongoing success.

BankSA Foundation is part of St.George Foundation. St.George Foundation is administered by St.George Foundation Limited (ABN 46 003 790) as the trustee of  St. George Foundation Trust (ABN 44 661 638 970). St.George Foundation Trust is a Public Ancillary Fund, endorsed by the ATO as a Deductible Gift Recipient. None of BankSA Foundation, St.George Foundation, St.George Foundation Limited nor the St.George Foundation Trust are part of Westpac Group. BankSA, a division of Westpac Banking Corporation, provides administrative support, volunteering, donations and funding for operational costs of the BankSA Foundation.