Australia’s new ethics-focused digital bank for essential workers


One of Australia’s largest mutual banks, Teachers Mutual Bank, has announced the imminent launch of its new digital banking arm, Winter.

Winter, which goes live on Thursday, June 24, is the newest addition to a growing list of digital banks in the market, though in addition to appealing to tech-savvy users, Winter seems to be aimed at concerned banking customers as well. ethics.

The app-based neobank will initially only be available to Teachers Mutual Bank’s core customer base of core workers, including those in education, emergency services and healthcare. Although this should expand over time.

Teachers Mutual Bank’s decision to launch its own digital offering makes sense. At least, based on its own research, as the mutual found that 37% of core workers were likely to opt for a digital bank as part of their banking mix over the next few years.

“The introduction of Winter into the banking landscape represents an exciting development in the delivery of customer-centric services. As the first digital mutual bank to hit the market, we combine the best of new banking technology with the financial security of a $ 9 billion balance sheet and a proven ethical business model, ”said Steve James, Managing Director of Teachers Mutual Bank Limited. .

“We are proud to offer this unique service to some of our most valued members of the community, essential and frontline workers, by supporting their economies with our strong capital and liquidity.”

Digital accounts

Besides the bank itself, Thursday’s rollout will also include the launch of the new Winter Saver account.

The savings account will carry a maximum permanent interest rate of 0.75% for savers who are able to meet the monthly requirements of at least one deposit and no withdrawal from the account. Otherwise, a continuous base rate of 0.50% will apply.

Savers can also create up to three “sub-accounts” for different savings goals and make automatic withdrawals or BPAY payments directly from the Winter Saver Account.

Meanwhile, the Winter transaction account and linked Winter Visa debit card will allow users to track and make purchases from their phones, with features like expense categorization and digital wallets like Apple Pay. and Google Pay.

Winter also offers its users 1% cash back on grocery and transit purchases made with the Winter debit card, up to a value of $ 50 per calendar year.

Although not yet available, Teachers Mutual Bank has also clarified that Winter Home Loans will also be offered to users in the coming months.

Focus on ethics

For many Australians, ethical and sustainability considerations and their money are becoming increasingly important.

In fact, research by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) From values ​​to riches 2020 A report found that 87% of Australians expect the money in their bank accounts to be invested “responsibly and ethically”.

This has been a major focus for Teachers Mutual Bank over the past few years, which has strived to have its home loan, savings account and term deposit products certified under the RIAA. Responsible investment certification program.

The mutual bank was also named one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies in 2021 by the Ethisphere Institute – the eighth consecutive year it has been on the list.

And according to Teachers Mutual Bank’s digital banking director, Carolyn Murphy, that focus on providing ethical and sustainable banking options won’t be any different with Winter.

“The confidence of essential workers in our ethical and efficient approach to banking could not be more important. We’re excited to offer essential workers their first opportunity to use the new digital banking app, which can be found by searching for “Winter” on platforms such as Google Play and the Apple App Store. “

RELATED: Australians flock to socially responsible bank, Teachers Mutual

Interested in learning more about the digital options available to Australian banking customers?

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