Adapting to change
While many businesses have found change difficult during this pandemic, others have been able to adapt and respond to the changing conditions efficiently and effectively as a result of strong leadership and organisational culture.
That’s certainly been the case for Queensland Country Bank which had started the transition from a credit union to a member-owned bank in January, and were in the final stages of rolling out a state-wide rebrand and marketing campaign, which included obtaining the naming rights sponsorship to the Queensland Country Bank Stadium, when the Coronavirus pandemic reached Australia and business as we knew it ground to a halt.
Newly elected Queensland Country Bank Board Chair, Christine Flynn, who succeeded long-time Chair, Bruno Cullen, in April says the organisation is well placed to navigate this challenging time and assist Members. She credits her fellow Board Members, a strong Executive Team and great technology for a smooth transition into the top role.
“We’ve had to adapt how we communicate during this time and I’m thankful that we have a technology forward organisation with well-established online platforms that allow us to stay connected securely,” she says.
“We’ve spent a great deal of time proactively assessing what the pandemic means for Queensland Country, our Staff and Members and what things we need to do differently.”
With experience in responding quickly to assist Members affected in a crisis, such as Townsville’s 2019 flood event and the South East Queensland bush fires, Queensland Country Bank were able to act quickly and make Emergency Relief Packages available to Members experiencing financial hardship due to Coronavirus.
“Staff and Members remain at the forefront of every decision we make, and we have made Emergency Relief Packages available for Members experiencing financial hardship due to Coronavirus,” says Ms Flynn.
“The Queensland Country Group has a strong capital base which will enable us to continue to provide our Members with first class and modern financial services in a friendly environment.”
Adaption and change are familiar for Ms Flynn who played a pivotal role in the merger with Queenslanders Credit Union as the Chair of that organisation in 2018, after which time she joined the Queensland Country Board as a Director. Ms Flynn brings extensive experience in organisational development, public and private sector governance and executive leadership to the role, and she is an accredited facilitator for the Australian Institute of Company of Directors course for Board Chairmen, Chief Executives and executive management.
“The Board has a strong governance role to ensure the future viability of the organisation and compliance with regulatory bodies, and it’s crucial that we are setting the standard with our culture and behaviour so we are aligned with our organisation’s values,” she says.
The strong organisational culture pivots around the core value of providing value to Members and supporting their communities. Queensland Country Bank is committed to serving regional Queenslanders, with its Head Office in Townsville and 28 branches located throughout the state. In some smaller communities, such as Magnetic Island and Weipa, they are the only financial institution with a local branch to service residents.
“Across the state we have huge differences in demographics and banking requirements, so we make sure every Queenslander is looked after in a fast changing world,” says Ms Flynn.
“We have long term staff in most of our branches, and they know Members personally and understand how they want to do their banking.”
It is this commitment to Members at a grass roots level, combined with strong leadership and values, that has seen Queensland Country Bank experience such significant growth over the last decade. Combined with a sense of certainty in their financial position and proactive approach, Ms Flynn is confident the organisation can overcome the challenges of a global pandemic.
“We’ve had some major growth and achievements over the years, and I am very proud that we have become a member-owned bank,” she says.
“I believe we will continue to grow and be successful, becoming one of the leading member-owned banks for regional Queensland and Australia.”