Linking business success with community prosperity

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank was recently recognised for its dedication in addressing societal issues as part of its core business strategy.

The Shared Value Project recognised the Bank as the top Organisation to Lead Through Shared Value, with its Community Bank® model as the Bank’s flagship example of Shared Value. MPA heard from Bendigo and Adelaide Bank’s executive, engagement innovation, Robert Musgrove, and head of business development and strategy, Darren Kasehagen on why shared value is so important in business.   

MPA: Why is being a leader in shared value a high priority for Bendigo and Adelaide Bank?
Robert Musgrove: Shared value is in our DNA. It comes about as a result of our broad and deep connection with the communities in which we operate. We know that for us to be a successful bank, we first need to play a role in enabling successful customers and communities. Through developing business models like Community Bank®, Alliance Bank, Community Sector Bank, and others, we’ve been able to demonstrate that a partnership between a community and a bank; where we combine our unique skills and aspirations, can deliver substantial outcomes. These business models not only deliver outcomes for our bank, but they enable significant capacity building at local community level, which is often leveraged with Government funding.

Being part of the Shared Value conversation has allowed us, and our partners, to share our experiences and learnings, and also to have a broader conversation with like-minded organisations, who share a desire to make a difference. This presents great learning and collaboration opportunities for us.

We are also seeing excellent examples of Shared Value champions starting to explore collaboration opportunities – business to business, which has some exciting prospects.

MPA: In what ways has the bank set the example in connecting business success and community prosperity?
It’s probably most illustrative to give you an example. There are over 1,900 passionate individuals who act as directors of their local social enterprise company; their Community Bank®. Embedded in their local community directors help lead local discussion on the community’s needs, circumstances and aspirations. They help the local community realise the success of the banking operation, to enable fulfilment of agreed community priorities.

of our community partners, the Community Bank® in Port Lincoln (Eyre Peninsula SA), conducted a community forum where several hundred locals gathered together to discuss priorities. From that discussion it was identified that the town’s swimming facility needed significant re-development.

Given the support of local people conducting their banking business in the Port Lincoln Community Bank, that enterprise was able to contribute $200,000 of its profits to kick-start the project, which then led to Local and Federal government delivering remaining funding support for what was a $5million project.

Today the Port Lincoln operates a state-of-the-art aquatic centre, catalysed by the local community doing nothing more than conducting its banking business through this their local bank branch; this shared value business model called Community Bank®.

MPA: How can mortgage brokers incorporate this concept into their own businesses?
Darren Kasehagen:
The Shared Value conversation gives us all an opportunity to think about how our strategies and business models can make a difference in society, while delivering positive business outcomes at the same time. Through our extensive relationships across broker networks, we know that brokers are looking for ways to deepen the role they play in customers’ lives. The Shared Value discussion is certainly one we’re happy to get our third party mortgage partners engaged in.

MPA: Why do more corporations need to engrain shared value into their business strategies rather than philanthropic action alone, particular in the banking world?
We think the role of business is to feed into prosperity, not off it. In any case it makes sense doesn’t it, that you can’t run a successful business in an unsuccessful community.

We believe that our business models are demonstrating that by having an approach that works for the benefit of our customers and their communities, is also provides a successful strategy for our business.

From the business’s perspective we believe this focus on delivering a balance of outcomes to all stakeholders is a more sustainable approach for customers, partners, suppliers, shareholders, and communities at large.

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