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Credit Union appoints C-suite executive

Gateway Credit Union has appointed Lexi Airey its first-ever chief customer officer as part of an organisational transformation.

At the release of the group’s end of financial year result yesterday, Gateway announced a strategic repositioning of the business as it aims to become the “best financial institution in Australia for helping customers pay down debt”.

“A happy and satisfied customer is the best business strategy, so with near 20 years of experience in customer orientated roles Lexi is the perfect fit to lead Gateway’s customer acquisition and customer service and work with our executives to execute against our strategic repositioning,” Gateway chief executive Paul Thomas said.

Mr Thomas admits that the lender’s strategy to help borrowers pay down debt faster seems counter-intuitive for a financial institution, but he is confident that the success of Gateway is tied to the success of its members.

The lender funded a record number of loans during the 2014 fiscal year, growing its loan book by 11.7 per cent.

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“I recognise the invaluable contribution of our staff and third-party broker distribution partners, Connective, Mortgage Choice and Yellow Brick Road to our success,” Mr Thomas said.

“Since Gateway entered into the broker space near five years ago, these partnerships demonstrate how a smaller, customer-centric and more agile ADIs can bring greater competition to the marketplace, giving Australians a fairer go,” he said.

However like all credit unions, Gateway is feeling the effects of margin squeeze brought about by the ongoing price war for loans and deposits, which is reflected in the 31 per cent fall in its profitability over the past year.

Mr Thomas said that most lenders are reluctant mortgage war combatants who dislike price battles and the need for deep discounts.

“But in a market which is being driven by price, lenders are often required to sharpen their pencils to stay in the game,” he said.

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