Auswide’s move is right on the money

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - TONY RAGGATT

A NEW lo­ca­tion and hard work has paid off for the Townsville branch of Auswide Bank.

The Townsville team has been crowned the top per­form­ing branch in the bank’s net­work of 24 shopfronts in Queens­land for 2016- 17.

Auswide man­ag­ing direc­tor Martin Bar­rett vis­ited the branch to con­grat­u­late the team and take them to din­ner.

While here, he ob­served that per­haps Townsville is far more re­silient than peo­ple think.

“When I travel around Queens­land and see the con­di­tions, I think Townsville has a lot to be thank­ful for,” Mr Bar­rett said. “It al­ways seems to be far more re­silient than it’s given credit for.”

Auswide was among sev­eral banks to re­lo­cate from Stock­land’s Kmar­tan­chored cen­tre at Aitken­vale last year.

The bank in­vested around $ 400,000 in a new branch at the Castle­town shop­ping cen­tre in Hyde Park.

Mr Bar­rett said the in­vest­ment and re­lo­ca­tion to a larger shop­ping cen­tre, along with a re­quire­ment for a greater amount of rent, was a big com­mit­ment which had proved to be a pos­i­tive move.

“The lo­ca­tion as well as the work of the team is prov­ing to be very ben- efi­cial for us,” Mr Bar­rett said. “Cus­tomer growth has been around 20 per cent over the course of the fi­nan­cial year and we have seen home lend­ing up about 15 per cent.

“Given the sub­dued mar­ket in Townsville, this is a pretty good go­ing.”

Lend­ing com­prised a rea­son­able amount of re­fi­nanc­ing and some first home­owner bor­row­ing, while they had also seen de­posit growth around 12 per cent.

Mr Bar­rett said he came away with the sense that the Townsville econ­omy was im­prov­ing.

“When I was last in Townsville just over 12 months ago, I came away quite de­pressed,” he said.

“The feed­back from pretty much ev­ery­one was doom and gloom which sur­prised me a lit­tle bit.

“I felt Townsville was suf­fer­ing from a larger hang­over than was the re­al­ity.”

He said the sense of op­ti­mism and im­prove­ment on his lat­est visit was en­cour­ag­ing.

Auswide has 24 branches from Cairns to Bris­bane and a mort­gage bro­ker net­work reach­ing into Syd­ney and Melbourne with assets of about $ 3 bil­lion.

It was formed out of the for­mer Wide Bay build­ing so­ci­ety, its 2008 pur­chase of the Mackay Per­ma­nent build­ing so­ci­ety and more re­cently Your Credit Union in Bris­bane.

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