HUME Building Society will officially become a bank — but in name only.
That’s the vow from Hume’s board of directors and chief executive, as its members yesterday voted overwhelmingly in favour of the name change.
About 30 of the 57,000 members attended the society’s annual general meeting at Rydges Hotel in Albury to cast their vote on whether it should apply for bank status — and the ayes clearly had it.
Just four people voted against.
Chairman Stuart Gilchrist tabled a further 56 proxy votes in favour, and one against.
Hume, which began in Albury as a co-operative building society in 1955, will become just the third regional Australian organisation to have bank in its title.
Mr Gilchrist said the strong support was something they had hoped for.
“Many understand that it’s a change in name only and the others will see it demonstrated as we go along,” he said.
Hume flagged its desire to apply for bank status in September, a move that would require a 75 per cent majority.
Under Australian Prudential Regulation Authority guidelines, a building society or credit union can apply to be a bank upon holding more than $50 million of core capital — Hume met that on June 30 with $54.89 million.
Members were assured again that Hume would remain customer-owned, with no shares or stock exchange listing to come.
Chief executive Andrew Saxby said he had personally spoken with several customers at length to assuage their fears — even going so far as to give one member his phone number, inviting him to “call and call me a liar” should Hume not keep its vow.
“The word bank is seen as a scary four-letter word, but there’s a good four-letter word in Hume and we hope people think of that,” he said.
Mr Saxby said the official application would now be lodged in April on the anniversary of Hume starting in 1955, preserving a sense of history.
The name will change officially on July 1.