Establishing Trust through Ethical Operations

We're working hard to ensure a profitable future as a publicly listed company, as an employer and as an active member of the community.

Operating ethically is the foundation of stakeholder trust at Auswide Bank. Over many years, we have built our business on strong principles and values that guide our behaviour.

Our approach to corporate governance is based on a set of values and behaviours that underpin day-to-day activities providing transparency, fair dealing that seeks to protect stakeholder interests.

To ensure honesty, respect and integrity in all our activities, we use a framework of policies and programs.

Responsibly managing our governance includes:

  • Transparent disclosure
  • Business conduct and ethics
  • Financial and business management
  • Compliance
  • Sustainable shareholder returns
  • Risk management

Board of Governance
Auswide Bank’s Board and senior executive are committed to managing our business ethically and maintaining high standards of corporate governance.

Board of Directors
The Board Charter sets out the roles and responsibilities of the Board. The role of the Board is to provide strategic guidance for Auswide Bank Ltd and effective oversight of management.

Board of Composition
The size of the Board is subject to the provisions of Auswide Bank’s Board Charter. There is an election of Directors at each annual general meeting. Directors’ re-election is on a rotation basis at least once every three years.

Regulatory Compliance
Auswide Bank is an authorised deposit-taking institution supervised by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) under the Banking Act 1959. Auswide Bank is also supervised by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission under the Corporations Act 2001 and has been granted Australian financial services and credit licenses. Auswide Bank is committed to meeting all regulatory requirements.

Risk Management
Auswide Bank is committed to implementing appropriate strategies to identify, analyse and manage the risks associated with its activities. Auswide Bank has adopted an integrated approach to risk management which meets the international standard IS031000 Risk Management. Auswide Bank has appointed a Chief Risk Officer and is compliant with APRA Prudential Standards CPS 220 (Risk Management) and APS 310 Audit & Related Matters.

Code of Conduct
The way we behave, both at work and outside, is a key driver of our success and directly affects the perceptions people have about Auswide Bank. We have adopted a Code of Conduct that sets out the expectations for how our staff act, solve problems and make decisions, making it clear that we take behavioural expectations seriously and that we’re prepared to act if people breach the Code.

Whistleblower Protection
As part of our commitment to being a conscientious corporate citizen, Auswide Bank encourages staff to report any activity that is illegal, improper or unfair at work without fear of retribution. Our approach is detailed in our Whistleblower Policy, which promotes a culture of conducting our business with honesty, fairness and integrity.

Board Performance Assessment
In accordance with the Prudential Standard CPS 520 Fit and Proper, the organisation’s Fit and Proper Policy requires all new appointments to meet the fitness and propriety test prior to appointment and undergo re-assessment on an annual basis. A performance evaluation of the Board and individual director’s contribution is undertaken annually.

Conflicts of Interest
The Board regularly assesses the independence of each director in the light of interests disclosed. The Conflict of Interest Policy applies to all senior executives, employees, officers and agents of Auswide Bank and requires that material interests that could potentially conflict with the interest are declared.

Board Committees
The Board operates in conjunction with the following committees:

  • Board Risk Committee
  • Board Audit Committee
  • Board Remuneration Committee
  • Board Credit Committee

Auswide Bank is committed to acting in the interests of its customers. As such, our focus is on ensuring that the financial commitments our customers make are appropriate for their circumstance and can be managed without adverse financial impacts.

Auswide Bank is committed to contributing to society’s efforts to address and ultimately eliminate any exploitation of vulnerable people with which we may be involved, directly or indirectly. Auswide Bank respects all human rights as outlined in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights and embeds them in our policies and practices. We do this by:

  • Respecting the human rights of our staff and customers.
  • Encouraging respect for human rights in our supply and value chains.

We understand that our supply chain decisions need to include considerations of more than the traditional factors such as cost, quality and speed of delivery. Auswide Bank takes its compliance obligations under the Australian Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth) seriously and is committed to conducting due diligence on third parties to ensure that they have in place appropriate measures to prevent and address modern slavery risks.

Our purpose is to create prosperity for our customers, shareholders, and people through empathy, integrity and by making a difference. Each day we strive to make a difference to the lives of our customers, shareholders and people.

We're building leader capability to create trusting environments for our people with a focus on wellbeing. In addition, we have broadened our diversity focus to ensure we value the differences in all of our people and truly reflect our customers. We know we have more to do, particularly as we grow our organisation and ensure our purpose and values are meaningful and reflect all parts of our organisation.

Auswide Bank’s Business Continuity Management program (BCM) assists in ensuring that critical business activities can be maintained or restored within acceptable timeframes should a business continuity event disrupt operations, and that the financial, legal, regulatory, reputational and other material consequences of the event are minimised.

The objective of the Auswide Banks BCM program is to maintain a pre-approved minimum level of operational capacity for Auswide Bank Ltd including provision of services for key stakeholders by minimising the impact that a disruptive event could have on the viability of the organisation and provision of its customer services.

This includes:

  • Ensuring the welfare of personnel
  • Protecting the organisation’s image and reputation
  • Maintaining a level of customer satisfaction
  • Enhancing organisational stability
  • Reducing risk exposures and potential economic losses
  • Minimising legal liabilities
  • Anticipating and satisfying future regulatory requirements.

The Bank’s BCM is supported by a documented Business Continuity Plan (BCP) that meets the objectives of the Bank’s BCM Policy. The BCPs provide sufficient information and procedures to enable the organisation to respond to disruptions caused by a business continuity event to recover critical business functions that may be impacted, and to resume normal business operations.

The Bank’s BCPs cater to the following activities in the event of an incident or major disaster:

  • Pre-incident preparation
  • Responding to an incident, emergency or disaster
  • Recovering and resuming critical business functions
  • Restoring and returning all business operations.

Regular training is provided to relevant staff to build a proactive business continuity culture and to continually improve our level of resilience. Business Continuity training is designed to provide an overall awareness and understanding of business continuity principles and preparations. Additional training also provided includes Business Continuity Leadership training and Crisis Management training.

Review, testing and exercising
The BCM program is tested via a combination of scenario exercises of its BCP and by periodic recovery infrastructure testing to confirm resumption of critical business functions.

All elements of the BCM Program, including the identification of recovery priorities and the development of tools. This will be reviewed at least annually or more frequently if there are material changes to business operations or to regulatory requirements, to ensure that the BCM is fit for purpose under CPS 234. It is a requirement that regular testing is carried out in accordance with Information Security Policy and Cyber Response Plan. The outcomes of these reviews are formally reported to the Auswide Bank Ltd Board Risk Committee, with changes to a plan as required to remain accurate and current.

During the year, no less than one extensive BCP exercise is undertaken with the BCM team managing a test crisis, which is facilitated by an external provider to enhance the Bank’s BCM/BCP capabilities assessment.

Each year Auswide Bank undertakes financial stress testing conducted on at least an annual basis, in addition to any ad hoc testing commissioned by the Board, Board committees or management.

The key aims of Auswide’s Enterprise-Wide Stress Testing Framework (EWSTF) are:

  • Stress testing capabilities - review and develop capabilities within Auswide Bank.
  • Risk analysis - assist Auswide understand its risk profile, assess the risk appetite of Auswide against its ability to bear risk and provide a forward-looking view on the risks in the housing portfolio and other asset portfolios.
  • Capital buffers - provide an understanding and enable decisions on the adequacy of the amount and quality of capital, provide an understanding and enable decisions on the adequacy of capital buffers and assess the appropriateness of capital targets and triggers.
  • Mitigating actions - assess the effectiveness and feasibility of mitigating strategies and provide information to enable and inform decisions regarding the timeliness of mitigating strategies and gain an understanding of the effects of various mitigating strategies on targets, triggers and buffers and determine the decisions on which mitigating strategies would be preferable under stress testing scenarios.
  • Information - provide readily understandable information and data to the Board and senior management to enable and inform capital and liquidity planning, compliance with regulatory requirements for capital and liquidity, gauging of risk appetite for the development of new products and strategic planning.

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