Bank First was founded in 1972 when a group of educators came together with a shared belief. They were disenchanted with the way many Australians were being treated by the big banks so they started a credit union owned entirely by customers. Today, Bank First is still driven by the same founding values with a focus on putting customers first. Driven by care and compassion, Bank First is committed to providing a better banking experience to all the people and vocations that build a better community.
Operating within the banking and financial services industry means that compliance has always been a top priority for Bank First – and this commitment has only escalated since the 2017 Banking Royal Commission. To cite one example of compliance obligations, members of the Sales and Service department, which encompasses more than half of Bank First’s 230 employees and includes branch staff, lending staff, call centre staff and mobile lenders, must be both FSRA Tier 2 (Financial Services Reform Act) and NCCP (National Consumer Credit Protection) compliant. The latter requires continuous training, varying from 2, 6, 12 or 20 hours per year depending on the amount of lending each employee undertakes.
As another example, employees who are processing home loans can expect to have a percentage of those loans assessed each month. Regular training is one way to reduce the likelihood of mistakes or breaches being made. However, keeping track of training requirements across the entire organisation was proving to be a drain on resources and time.
“When you’re talking about a sales team of over 100 people, and they have to do a certain number of hours of professional development, that’s a lot of face-to-face training and manual processing of training records,” says Leonie Boyd, Organisation Development Manager, Bank First. “In order to provide that level of service we needed to be heavily resourced, and that came with a very big cost. Bringing people in to do face-to-face training also meant we were taking people away from the frontline, away from our customers. It was not an ideal situation, but we had no other way to deliver training at that stage.”
Boyd also says Bank First was “very paper-based” to the point where some of its processes were “archaic”. “This was really apparent in relation to compliance-related training and even just getting documents read, approved and signed off by staff,” says Boyd. “For example, we had to quickly create a remote working policy to deal with the pandemic. The only way to ensure my colleagues had read the policy was to get them to physically sign it and return it to the People & Culture team. Our team thought about how we could improve this process and decided to put it on the ELMO system so it could be issued to people and they could then check the digital box indicating they’ve read it.”
Bank First ultimately chose ELMO’s Learning Management, Course Library and Course Builder solutions. This was partly due to an awareness of the limitations of Bank First’s existing learning platforms and the knowledge that ELMO could help to reinvigorate and broaden the learning opportunities on offer.
“We were previously using a cartoon style for our courses, and they just weren’t resonating. All the seriousness was taken out of it,” says Boyd. “If you’re doing a course on bullying or sexual harassment and it’s in cartoon form, how seriously will that be taken? It just didn’t resonate with anybody and it was very clunky. ELMO’s courses resonated; they were interactive but easier to absorb and get through.”
Just as critically, Bank First wanted to avoid having to constantly update its course library to meet changing legislation. “We believed that should happen automatically and we were confident ELMO’s courses would do that,” says Boyd. “We knew we wouldn’t have to trawl through the latest legislation to update our courses. ELMO would do that automatically.”
Importantly, Bank First needed to be able to not only access a course library, but also create bespoke courses as required. Boyd says ELMO Course Builder streamlined the creation of this content. “There are certain courses that are applicable to banking that no one else has, and we required the ability to create those courses ourselves. We found it was simply easier to do that in the ELMO system,” says Boyd.
Bank First has seen many positive results since engaging with ELMO. Chief among these results has been the enhanced ability to blend online and face-to-face learning, which has provided greater flexibility for employees to undertake learning in their own time and has reduced admin for the People & Culture team.
“Critically, it has reduced time away from the frontline for our employees, and it has enabled us all to get back to what we’re here to do, which is service our members.”
In addition, Bank First’s commitment to compliance has never been stronger. “Every year we complete a report to indicate how compliant we are as an organisation, and we are compliant,” Boyd says simply. “People are more inclined to get on and do their course training because it is simple to do. It’s absolutely user-friendly.”
ELMO has also resulted in significant relief from manual processes. Prior to ELMO, Bank First used Excel spreadsheets to track training – a time-consuming, error-prone process, as Boyd explains:
“Everyone had their own Excel spreadsheet and would record their training themselves. They would then forward it to my team to collate at the end of the financial year. You can imagine the issues we had with this.
“ELMO has allowed us to record all of that information in one central place. The Capability and Assurance Team can, for example, run a report a few weeks out from the end of the financial year and see who hasn’t completed their training hours and how many more hours need to be completed. That’s been a huge advantage for us.”
Just as critically, Boyd says that ELMO has become a trusted partner to Bank First, to the extent that ELMO has helped Bank First to ensure all elements of its continuing professional development (CPD) programs count towards NCCP compliance. “In terms of the NCCP component, we have to have what’s known as responsible managers. We have 6 responsible managers within the organisation, and each of them has to undertake 20 hours of professional development per year,” Boyd says. “It means they have to go to conferences and undertake different types of learning throughout the year. We worked with ELMO a couple of years ago to find a way to record all of that and we’ve managed to adapt the CPD hours that can be reported in ELMO so that it counts as our NCCP hours.”
Boyd adds that this is typical of the proactive relationship ELMO has built with Bank First. “They’ve always been really forthcoming in helping us to achieve what we need to achieve and offering the best advice and the best way to do things,” she says. “We don’t have to seek that out; ELMO will come to us, advise us of improvements, and suggest how we can make things better. We trust that ELMO has our best interests at heart.”