Friday 6 February, 2015
After nearly 15 distinguished years building ME Bank into one of Australia’s fastest growing regional banks, Bernie Fraser yesterday announced he will step down as ME Bank Chairman.
His announcement follows a period of succession planning with the Board, and will be effective immediately.
Mr Fraser joined ME Bank in April 2000, when the organisation was only six years old and operating as a simple securitised mortgage provider.
A former Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, Mr Fraser has provided a depth of banking knowledge and experience unrivalled in the Australian business community and, combined with a philosophy based on the principles of the industry fund movement, he has overseen the transformation of ME Bank into a rising force within the banking industry, and one much loved by its fast-growing base of customers.
During his tenure Mr Fraser oversaw ME Bank’s acquisition of a full banking licence in 2001, a move that allowed ME Bank to expand its product portfolio, grow its customer base, and diversify funding sources.
As Chairman he also shepherded the Bank through the Global Financial Crisis, including overseeing the Bank’s transition from a securitisation-based funding model with the majority of assets held ‘off-balance sheet’, to the traditional banking model with loans originated on-balance sheet, in turn improving the Bank’s stability and profitability.
Mr Fraser has, over the last few years, driven the reinvigoration of the Bank’s Board, building a diverse, talented and experienced group to oversee the continued growth of ME Bank.
With the Board he also oversaw the appointment of Jamie McPhee, ME Bank’s current Chief Executive Officer, and the rebuilding of the executive team.
Mr McPhee observed, “I will miss Bernie’s experience, guidance and deep knowledge of the banking landscape. I would like to pass on my deep appreciation of his unwavering support over the last five years.”
Mr Fraser leaves ME Bank in a very strong position with double-digit profit and customer growth, and with new technology systems that will be a key enabler for further growth.
“It has been a privilege to serve ME Bank and the industry super funds for many years, but I am now looking forward to a bit more time for my other interests”, said Mr Fraser.
Mr Fraser will be replaced by current director, Garry Weaven, as Chairman.
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