Heritage Bank has been awarded Regional Bank of the Year at the AFR Smart Investor Blue Ribbon Awards 2016.
Taking the crown from last year’s winner, the Bank of Melbourne, the Toowoomba-based bank was found to be “obvious winner” after the finder.com.au judges compared Heritage Bank's offerings “with other regional banks across key product lines and categories”.
Other contenders in the running included “highly-recommended” banks IMB and Bank SA, and the Bank of Melbourne.
Heritage Bank CEO, Peter Lock, said the award reaffirmed Heritage’s commitment to its "People first" philosophy and to delivering innovative financial products and services for its customers.
He said: “Heritage Bank prides itself on helping our customers achieve their financial dreams. In fact, we’re passionate about helping people.
“This award highlights Heritage Bank’s position as a genuine alternative to the big banks and is also fantastic recognition for our hard working and dedicated staff.
“Our aim is to support the evolving financial needs of Australian families and businesses by providing competitive products and a fantastic customer experience. This award shows that we’re headed in the right direction.”
Mr Lock added that the bank’s “People first” philosophy would remain at the forefront of its practice while it explores “new opportunities to grow the brand nationwide”.
“We started back in 1875 as a unifying force — bringing people together to harness their collective strengths and fulfil their financial goals, for the benefit of everyone,” he said. “That’s what being a mutual all is about and our focus has not changed.”
NAB wins Bank of the Year
Major bank NAB took the title of Bank of the Year at the Blue Ribbon Awards, the fourth year in a row that the bank has held that title.
The award was given after the judges analysed the bank’s 11 products and features, including the fees, rates and accessibility of its home loans, savings and transaction accounts, and credit cards.
“The results delivered a comfortable win for NAB and a fourth consecutive Bank of the Year title,” the finder.com.au judges said.
Speaking after the results, NAB’s chief customer officer for consumer banking and wealth management, Andrew Hagger, said: “I want to thank our customers — without their feedback we wouldn’t be able to constantly learn and innovate in the way that we do that has helped us to win these awards.
“Whether they’re buying their first home, turning a business idea into reality or preparing for retirement, we’re working to make banking an easy, supportive and personal experience for our customers.”
ME wins Online Bank of the Year
Other banks that were highly commended in this category included Bank Australia and ME, the latter of which taking the title of Online Bank of the Year.
The judges said that ME won the 2016 online bank award for “not only its outstanding online presence, which offers customers a broad selection of products, but also its low fees, competitive rates and access to more than 3,000 ATMs nationwide”.
ME CEO, Jamie McPhee, attributed ME’s success to its commitment of helping all Australians get ahead and making banking “as simple as possible”.
“Every Australian deserves to get the most out of their money. We’re here to help you get more from your savings and pay less on your loans — however we can, whenever we can,” he said.
Mr McPhee added that the bank will now be “working hard” to streamline the mortgage application processes to “make it simpler for people to apply online”, as currently only 2 per cent of ME’s mortgages are completed via the internet.
Other winners of the 2016 Blue Ribbon Awards included:
- Bendigo Bank’s Connect Package - Best Fixed Interest Property Investment Loan
- Bank of Queensland’s Clear Path - Best Variable Rate Property Investment Loan
- Commonwealth Bank's Supergear Resi - Best Fixed Interest Property Investment Loan for SMSF
- Macquarie Bank's SMSF Property - Best Variable Rate Property Investment Loan for SMSF
[Related: Australian Broking Awards 2016: highlights]