HOSTPLUS and ME Bank Join Forces to Launch Major Retail Initiative

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In an industry first, HOSTPLUS and ME BANK will open a co-branded full service branch outlet on the Gold Coast in 2010 to provide the Gold Coast community with low cost, award-winning financial services in a face to face environment.

The retail outlet will enable HOSTPLUS to better educate its members; provide value-added services; and support their broader financial needs by providing superannuation, investment, retirement planning and banking services at a more intimate community level.

“This is an important initiative because for many people superannuation is seen as a complex product and until now, our participating employers and members have not had a face to face environment in which to interact with their fund,” said David Elia, HOSTPLUS’ Chief Executive Officer.

“The partnership is groundbreaking,” he continued, “and it positions HOSTPLUS as the only industry super fund to offer face to face services in a retail setting of this nature.”

ME Bank’s Acting CEO, Nick Vamvakas, also applauds the initiative. “ME Bank has been specifically created to provide everyday Australians with innovative, low cost banking services. This venture with HOSTPLUS will provide our members with additional financial services, in a welcoming and professional environment,” he said.

“We foresee a local community of people learning about financial matters, talking about financial matters and making sound financial decisions,” Vamvakas concluded.

Independent research commissioned by HOSTPLUS complements the joint decision to launch the outlet, showing that face to face personal contact provides the highest level of service and is the preferred method of communication for people with term deposits and long-term investments.

The research also suggests that members prefer to use a multi-channel approach to managing their finances. HOSTPLUS’ and ME Bank’s call centres, internet banking facilities and now full service branch outlets will help facilitate that.

“HOSTPLUS took the important step of bringing its call centre in-house, as part of a strong commitment to innovation and quality customer service. The co-branded outlet with ME Bank is a natural extension of this,” said Elia.

HOSTPLUS’ partnership with ME Bank also supports the fund’s ongoing investment in the Gold Coast and its commitment to the city’s hospitality, tourism, recreation, and sport industries along with the broader community.

The decision has been applauded by the CEO of Gold Coast City Council, Dale Dickson who sees this initiative as an important boost to the local economy and a real coup for the region.

“Investments of this nature are a big win for local businesses, and the council supports all efforts for leading Australian brands to directly invest in our community. This commitment represents a strong show of optimism and confidence that will go a long way to assisting the City’s economic progress at this important time.”

The partnership additionally offers HOSTPLUS and ME Bank the opportunity to increase its member base, ultimately delivering more long-term value by achieving greater economies of scale.

“The decision to establish a shared outlet with ME Bank is testament to the collaboration between the two organisations. It is also testament to HOSTPLUS’ commitment to innovation and delivering value and benefits to our members,” Elia concluded.

Situated within the Pacific Fair shopping centre, the venture will provide HOSTPLUS with its first face to face distribution channel. More outlets may be established over time, in conjunction with the needs of members as they evolve. The full service branch outlet will open in mid-to-late 2010.

About HOSTPLUS

HOSTPLUS is the national superannuation fund for the hospitality, tourism, recreation and sport industries in Australia. The Australian Hotels Association (AHA) and the Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union (LHMU) jointly established the Fund in 1987. It is one of the largest super funds in Australia with over 900,000 members, over 50,000 employers and funds under management of around $7 billion.

The trustee of HOSTPLUS Superannuation is Host-Plus Pty Limited ABN 79 008 634 704, AFSL No. 244392, RSEL No. L0000093, RSE No. R1000054.

About ME Bank

ME Bank is owned by a number of industry superannuation funds. Profits earned provide a return on investment for these funds and their members. Our home loan programme raises funds by issuing bonds and mortgage backed securities that are rated AAA or equivalent by Standard and Poor's and Moody's Investors Service.

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Mr Tony Beck
ME Bank
03 9605 6011
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Mr David Elia
HOSTPLUS
03 8636 7777
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