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Mr Fraser’s announcement follows a period of succession planning with the board, and is effective immediately.
He joined ME Bank in April 2000, when the organisation was only six years old and operating as a simple securitised mortgage provider.
A former governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, Mr Fraser has provided a depth of banking knowledge and experience unrivalled in the Australian business community and, combined with a philosophy based on the principles of the industry fund movement, he has overseen the transformation of ME Bank into a rising force within the banking industry, and one much loved by its fast-growing base of customers.
During his tenure, Mr Fraser oversaw ME Bank’s acquisition of a full banking licence in 2001, a move that allowed ME Bank to expand its product portfolio, grow its customer base, and diversify funding sources.
As chairman, he shepherded the bank through the global financial crisis, including overseeing the bank’s transition from a securitisation-based funding model with a majority of assets held ‘off-balance sheet’ to the traditional banking model with loans originated on-balance sheet, in turn improving the bank’s stability and profitability.
“I will miss Bernie’s experience, guidance and deep knowledge of the banking landscape,” ME Bank chief executive Jamie McPhee said.
“I would like to pass on my deep appreciation of his unwavering support over the last five years,” Mr McPhee said.
Mr Fraser said it had been a privilege to serve ME Bank and the industry super funds for many years, but he is now looking forward to a bit more time for his other interests.
He will be replaced as chairman by current director Garry Weaven.