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Commonwealth Bank Launches Dedicated Indigenous Banking Team

2 November, 2009: The Commonwealth Bank today launched its 2009 Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) and announced it has established a dedicated Indigenous Banking Team, one of the first of its kind in Australian banking.

Commonwealth Bank Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ralph Norris, said the Group’s new RAP had a renewed, strong focus on supporting economically sustainable Indigenous communities and to meeting the specific needs of the Group’s Indigenous customers to help them achieve their financial goals.

“As one of Australia’s largest financial services organisations, we have an important role to play in building strong Indigenous communities and creating long-term opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders,” he said.

“Our 2009 RAP outlines our commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and our newly created Indigenous Banking Team, which is one of the first of its kind in Australian banking, will ensure we deliver initiatives that will create tangible economic opportunities for these communities and customers.”

The Commonwealth Bank’s Indigenous Banking Team consists of a group of dedicated employees, who are supported by banking specialists from across the Group.

The Indigenous Banking Team will have four core areas of focus:

Economic Opportunity – the Indigenous Banking Team will work directly with Indigenous leaders to define specific community objectives and implement tailored programs such as financial literacy, mentoring and business development support;

Employment – the Indigenous Banking Team will implement the Group’s new Indigenous Employment Strategy, which has seen the Commonwealth Bank commit to providing at least 350 positions to Indigenous Australians over the next three years, and has a key focus on employing and promoting Indigenous people throughout all areas of the Group;

Innovative financial products and services - the Indigenous Banking Team will continue the rollout of the Indigenous Customer Assistance Line, which has been developed to provide a relevant banking service for remote Indigenous customers to assist them with their money management needs; and

Cultural Appreciation – the Indigenous Banking Team will work to ensure Commonwealth Bank employees have an appreciation of Indigenous culture by implementing cultural awareness programs and online learning programs, and through its support of Bangarra Dance Theatre.

“Supporting these initiatives and creating economic opportunity in Indigenous communities is important to us, not only because we believe it is the right thing to do, but because it makes good commercial sense,” Mr Norris said.

“We recognise that our ability to serve all our customers in the ways that meet their specific needs is enhanced by a workforce that is reflective of the communities in which we operate and our focus on providing service that is accessible and appropriate. “The success of our Indigenous customers contributes to the success and sustainability of our business.”

Mr Paul O’Callaghan, Chief Executive Officer of Reconciliation Australia congratulated the Commonwealth Bank on its 2009 RAP and for its continued commitment to Indigenous Australia.

“Both the RAP’s development and implementation have been highly consultative, demonstrating respectful engagement with community stakeholders at all times,” Mr O’Callaghan said.

“I congratulate and thank the Commonwealth Bank for its leadership in promoting reconciliation.”

For further information on the Commonwealth Bank’s RAP and Indigenous Banking Team, go to www.commbank.com.au/community.

Click here to view the Reconciliation Action Plan 2009/10


For more information contact:

Noelle Waugh

Commonwealth Bank

Ph: 02) 9303 6412