Thank you for the opportunity to propose the toast to the Bank. It is a privilege to stand here before you.
In reflecting what I would say this afternoon, I thought back to my first days in Banking and the journey that I have taken over my nearly 40 years with ANZ. It was one of change and excitement. I can say that ANZ has played a significant part in my life. The Bank has also changed from when I joined.
Let me take you on a journey through time and share some reflections and changes along the way.
As a young lad of 16 years having completed school I applied for a number of jobs. After a very brief time in an accounting firm, I decided that that was not for me and being offered I accepted a job with ANZ Bank.
On 20th January 1969 I commenced in Sydney at 555 George Street Sydney branch. This was the beginning of a wonderful career and a journey that has had a profound impact on my life.
In doing some research I discovered that 555 George Street Sydney branch was initially the Bank of Australasia Southern Branch, which commenced on the site in rented premises in 1879. Forty four years after the Bank of Australasia was established by Royal Charter in 1835. The existing building was completed in 1886 and in 1902 the Bank purchased the property for 10,000 pounds. In 1912 alterations to the property were completed and the premises were unchanged until 1998 when the branch closed after 119 years. Things do change. The building was renovated into a pub “Three wise monkeys” and opened in 2000 for the Sydney Olympics. The building is on the City of Sydney Heritage Register and the Register of the National Estate. It still functions as a pub.
In 1969 Banking was less complicated. Man landed on the moon in that year,
banking was beginning to enter the age of computers. Male Bank Officers usually
wore short pants and long white socks. 1969 saw the agreement to merger of ANZ
Bank with the ES&A to form our present organisation. Group Day was actually 23
June 1969 when ANZ Banking Group became owner of all shares in the merging
Banks. The formal merger was concluded on 1 October 1970.
Little did I know then, what changes were to occur in the next four decades?
In reflecting on the past, I decided to look at the 1969 Annual Report for the Bank and compared it to the 2012 Annual Report. So what has changed?
- The 1969 Annual Report was 47 pages. The 2012 Annual Report was some 216 pages. It is interesting to note that last year’s 2011 Annual Report was a massive 232 pages.
- In 1969 the Bank’s Total Assets were $3,397m; in 2012 they had increased to $642,127m.
- In 1969 Shareholders’ funds were $122m now $41,220m.
- In 1969 Net Profit was $14.844m now $5,661m and
- Dividends paid in 1969 were $6.572m now $3,918m.
- Shareholders in 1969 numbered some 28,582, today there are over 439,000 shareholders.
1969 also saw the Bank acquire the current 55 Collins Street site for its then Head Office and building commenced at 20 Martin Place Sydney for its NSW State Offices.
1969 also saw the introduction of cash dispensing machines in November, at 370 Bourke Street Melbourne branch and 97 Castlereagh St Sydney branch, but customer response was limited. By April 1971 cash dispensing machines in Melbourne and Sydney had registered 11 and 14 transactions for the month respectively. It would take many more years until 1980 before ATMs’ were evaluated and ultimately launched in April 1982 as Night and Day Bank and by April 1984 there were 139 ATM’s.
When I commenced with ANZ in 1969, I learnt terms such as ledgers, proof machines and batching, white and green sheets, rems, DO Cards, advance applications, understood about term deposits, savings accounts, balancing the ledgers and looking after the stationery orders and the delights of going to the pub with the boys. EMANZA had arrived and the branch converted to computer in 1970 and the Bank moved into a new age. Later in 1974 Bankcard was launched.
It was not all work. There was some play. Branches’ were also a lot of fun, practical jokes seemed to be the norm. One time we left a dead rat in a voucher box and enjoyed the screams when the ledger girl found it. We discovered that air-conditioning was not designed to blow air back in the branch. It took a lot of explaining regarding the thick plume of dust that covered most of the lunch room. Or the practical joke played on the internal auditor who took over our car park in the lane at the back of the branch. His car was quite wide, so he placed some stones down the middle of the lane to assist him to park. As usual we decided to help him by moving the line of stones one way by 6 inches and the following day by a foot the other way. The third day we returned the line of stones to the middle position. Some minor panel work was subsequently required.
Social events were a feature of my early days in Sydney. PWE’s or Pleasant Wednesday Evenings were always a lot of fun as we met other ANZer’s. I also recall the P&K club…pie and keg club that many of the fellows were members. Each quarter they would meet at a member’s house for a night of drinking, eating pies (to assist with the drinking) and to cheer the movies that were projected on the rear wall of the house. It was a wonder that there were no objections from the neighbours with the blue projections on the wall.
My time at Sydney (Martin Place and George St) was a fantastic learning opportunity. Appointed as an advance clerk, I had the fortune to have as bosses, Bruce Arthur and Terry Stapleton and also PBO Manager Ted Povey. They were truly inspirational managers. Later in Branch Lending under Ken Fildes and then Area Banking at South Sydney under Dick Hughes.
During this time in Sydney I had my first overseas experience. A Shipboard agency cruise was offered and I accepted. We departed Pitt and Hunter Streets branch in the armoured van with two Melbourne colleagues and several cases of cash for the cruise. On the ship we worked hard, during the day exchanging currency with queues’ that never seemed to stop. At least after the day’s work we could experience shipboard life, and go ashore as tourists. After a while it became more fun and less work. So much so that one of my colleagues found his future wife on board, the other colleague decided to stay in Sydney for the weekend when we returned from the cruise with his new girlfriend. His wife wasn’t very pleased when he finally returned home. For my part I managed to escape unscathed from the experience, but it introduced me to what lay beyond Sydney and Australia.
Looking back again to 1969, the Bank had some 1,312 branches. Today we have 1,381 and more than a hundred thousand ATM and EFTPOST machines just in Australia!
The Bank in 1969 apart from its branches in Australia and New Zealand boasted an international network that included Fiji, Papua, New Guinea, British Solomon Islands, New Hebrides and London, with rep offices in New York and Tokyo. Today the Bank extends to 32 markets globally and is amongst the largest 20 banks in the world.
People were and will always be an important part of the Bank. In 1969 the makeup of the 18,140 staff was mainly, Anglo Saxon, and based mainly in Australia and New Zealand. Today the 48,239 staff come from all walks and cultural backgrounds and spread across more than 30 countries. Australia accounts for 21,000 staff, New Zealand some 9,000 staff the balance 18,000 are offshore.
In 1979, saw me Melbourne bound with a transfer to Esanda. What excitement. I was told that my transit accommodation would be located in Parkville, which I thought was a lovely sounding place, not far from the CBD. Even better the accommodation was called Freeway Gardens and it would be close to transport. It certainly was close to transport…a train line beside the property, the rattle of trams across the intersection and a freeway to the airport….what was better was my apartment faced it all. I learnt that you need to question what was said.
Esanda proved to be a different culture to the Bank but my boss Glen Twidale was an excellent mentor. For three years I had leasing in my blood, then an opportunity to undertake an overseas study with Ian McRobinson to research factoring. At that time overseas travel was First Class and having a glass of champagne as we took off from Melbourne headed for London, was something that is hard to describe…it was one of life’s pleasures.
Visiting London HO was an eye opener. Lunch around the old Board table with the London Executives was like going back in time, it was stately. At the end of the meal the port decanter was brought out by a waiter and the host passed it to the left. The decanter was not to touch the table; you filled your glass and passed it on. Only when it returned to the host, and if he decided to go again, it would continue its journey. When the host decided to end the lunch, he would put the decanter down when it returned to him. At that time Roy Ashton the General Manager Personnel was also in London, afterwards did we learn that London HO was downsized and some of the customs disappeared? Such was life for London staff.
Life always takes sudden turns and a transfer to Vanuatu in 1988 to head up a Trust Company that had previously been jointly owned with HSBC. Returning to Melbourne in 1990, the Australian Banks were experiencing credit issues with some of its larger corporate customers and I joined the Corporate Support team, which later morphed into the Asset Management Group charged with Corporate Workouts. In four years I learnt much about bad lending from the mistakes of others. It was an intense period, of long hours, difficult customer conversations and the satisfaction of achieving a turnaround of many customers. Reflecting now I can say it was the best part of my banking career.
Change was always evident in Banking. I lost count of the numerous restructures, name changes, acquisitions and realignments that seemed to be part and parcel of life. People came and went. Despite this I continued with my career in Credit and Risk roles. Roles that saw me travel throughout Australia and New Zealand, as well as to numerous countries. At least I got to see the world, although sad to say not at the pointy end of the airplane.
In early 2008 I took long service leave for six months, intending to return to the Bank on a part time basis…but having experienced the delights of semi retirement I elected to retire in September 2008 and have never looked back. Looking back over nearly a 40 year banking career, I can say that I enjoyed my time at ANZ and I would do it all again. I had a lot of fun; I worked with many wonderful people and had many interesting experiences as a banker. The Bank has seen incredible change over the past 40 years and no doubt there will be more to come.
The Bank has been a significant part of my life in many ways. My wife Maree worked for the Bank for a number of years so ANZ has been in the family. On the day that I retired my son Christopher commenced his career with the Bank. So my story lives on.
I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked at ANZ and to have been part of its history. I will always continue as a loyal customer and shareholder.
ANZ Bank has a proud heritage going back some 177 years to 1835. We have all been part of its history. We can only dream as to the future and wonder what will happen next.
Would you now please charge your glasses and be upstanding to toast. Our Great Bank…ANZ forever.