Commonwealth Bank - Report to Shareholders 2003 - The Bank and the Community - A Profile
 

The Bank and the Community - A Profile

The Bank contributes to the community directly and by participating in a stable financial system in which the community can have confidence.

Customers

The Bank is one of Australia's largest providers of financial services.

Access - The Bank's customers have more opportunities to access financial services than those of any other Australian financial institution. Customers can access funds 24 hours a day, seven days a week through:

Service Levels - To meet customer expectations of quality service, the Bank continues to introduce and modify processes to speed up decision-making, provide customers with shorter response times and improve responsiveness to customer needs. Service standards are monitored closely and a continuous improvement program is in place. Results show improvements in key areas such as branch queues, with early results from a National Queue Management Program indicating a 20% decrease in queue times and major gains in service, speed and efficiency.

Affordable Transaction Services - The Bank provides customers with a choice of affordable transaction services, easy-to-understand information to guide their transaction banking decisions and a fair complaint resolution service. School children, tertiary students, those under 18 and customers with a disability are offered free transactions, and fee concessions are provided to aged and Australian veteran customers.

Community

The Bank is a longstanding and active supporter of the communities in which it operates, supporting community activities and organisations which help bring long-term benefits for Australians and reflect community values.

Education - Building on its long history of support for Australia's youth, the Bank continues to encourage the development of financial knowledge and numeracy skills through a range of educational programs for students, teachers, indigenous Australians, older people and young farmers. The Dollars and Sense website www.dollarsandsense.com.au, developed by the Bank in 2002, helps young people develop money management skills and provides a valuable education resource for teachers. The website offers young people aged 14-21 practical and objective information about money matters and is the first Australian website to map its content to Mathematics and Business/Commerce curricula (Years 10-12) for all Australian states and territories.

To further the Bank's support for educational activities, the Bank established the Commonwealth Bank Foundation, announced by the Bank's Chairman, at the 2002 Annual General Meeting.

Commonwealth Bank Foundation - The purpose of the Commonwealth Bank Foundation is to encourage educational developments, including the development of financial skills for young Australians. The Foundation is directed by a Board of five members, who are senior executives of the Bank, and is chaired by CEO, Mr David Murray. One of the Foundation's centrepieces is the e-Learning Grants program. As part of its support for National Literacy and Numeracy Week, the Foundation provides grants of $5,000 to 70 primary schools across Australia to help in the development of literacy and numeracy skills through on-line projects.

More information on the Commonwealth Bank Foundation can be found at www.commbank.com.au/foundation

Disaster Relief - The Bank continues to assist customers and the wider community when bushfires, floods, drought and other natural disasters cause hardship. Assistance is given in a number of ways including direct donations, collecting public appeals free of charge and offering relief packages to help customers cope with their financial commitments. In January 2003, the Bank accepted public donations through the branch network for the Canberra Bushfire Recovery Appeal and extended its special assistance package which allowed affected customers to reschedule repayments, restructure loans, access term deposits and defer credit card repayments to assist them in adjusting to their changed circumstances.

During the year, the Bank assisted drought-affected customers across Australia by waiving loan restructuring fees, extending terms and providing additional carry-on finance to meet short term needs. The Bank contributed to the Farm Hand appeal, and together with Radio 2UE collected non-perishable food items in NSW for distribution via the Country Womens' Association. Approximately 2,200 boxes of food were donated to the ‘Rain Train' by both staff and customers. The Bank financed all freight costs to Central Station Sydney and part of the freight costs from Narrabri to surrounding regional areas of NSW.

Bank Staff - Since 1916, Bank staff have contributed generously to their local communities through the Staff Community Fund. The Fund supports various causes to improve the health of Australian children and is the principal supporter of the Humour Foundation's Clown Doctors who visit children in hospitals Australia-wide.

Environment

The Bank seeks to make efficient use of its consumption of energy, water, paper and procurement of materials to reduce the direct environmental impact of its operations.

Services - The Bank has helped establish a world-first industry acknowledged and sponsored toner-recycling scheme. Last year, Australians used more than 18 million printer, fax and copier cartridges, equivalent to 5,000 tonnes of materials. To reduce this waste, the Bank joined with Ricoh and Close The Loop to establish a Scheme that ensures that 100% of the toner product is recycled and diverted from land-fill. To date, over three tonnes of used Bank toners have been recycled into items such as park benches, office furniture and rulers.

Community Cooperation - With Conservation Volunteers Australia, the Bank is supporting habitat restoration projects of importance to local communities. The program, Lending a Hand, will see 600 such projects undertaken across Australia. Bank staff, customers and the community have the opportunity to help repair and revive the local habitats through practical projects involving tree planting, seed collection, bush regeneration, wildlife surveys and fencing of sensitive habitats.

For more information about the Commonwealth Bank in the community, visit www.commbank.com.au/about