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StateWest Chief’s passion to work

“I recently had a senior executive at a bank comment that our shadow was far larger than our size.”

He said a focus on fair fees, service and corporate citizenship had delivered this market perception.

“We offer everything the banks do and I think that’s important,” Mr Wall said. “Some of the (non-bank) organisations historically have not had the full range.”

But good communication is also important. If members feel they can talk to staff it nurtures a sense of belonging, he said.

A return to the historical full service model once offered by banks is an important part of StateWest’s strategy.

“It’s almost like a return to banking in the 1960s, when the bank manager knew who you were,” Mr Wall said.

StateWest invests in research into customer satisfaction, including a measure of its performance against other institutions.

Strong results from the research suggest the focus on care is paying great dividends.

“I do an induction with every new staff member and the first thing I say is: ‘I want to empower you to care for members’,” Mr Wall said. “We all work because we have to, but I want work to be a good place to be and I want our staff to use work as a building block to success.”

While the major banks are consolidating their resources, and in some cases closing down branches, StateWest is expanding its network in WA.

There are 10 branches in Perth and the merger with Health Services Credit Union will add a further three.

“We’ve also grown quite strong in relation to e-commerce,” Mr Wall said.

The Finger Tip Footy, launched by StateWest, was an initiative to attract the public and members to the StateWest website.

“We’ve had a take-up rate for Internet banking of 7 per cent. After the National Bank’s Internet banking had been up for two years it only had a 5 per cent take up,” Mr Wall said.

“We’re about to launch the next phase, which will enable people to see all their banking information (from different institutions on one screen).”

However, looking to the future, StateWest’s biggest focus is on the wealth management side of the business.

“There’s a big area of need in financial planning for wealth management,” Mr Wall said.

“It’s a big focus for us over the next three years.”

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