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2012 News

6 December 2012 Newcastle Permanent wins Gold again for cheapest Home Loan Package
6 December 2012 Variable home loan rates cut by 0.20% p.a.
4 December 2012 Newcastle Permanent reviews interest rates
30 November 2012 Don’t take the bait! - Stay safe online
21 November 2012 Salvation Army Christmas Appeal
8 October 2012 Variable home loan rates cut by 0.20%
2 October 2012 Reserve Bank cuts rates
2 October 2012 Notice of Annual General Meeting
27 August 2012 Newcastle Permanent claims back-to-back titles for Home Lender of the Year
1 August 2012 We're open on Bank Holiday
26 June 2012 Newcastle Permanent staff gives local charity a "High Five"
21 June 2012 Closing date for super contributions
20 June 2012 We’ve updated our Mobile Website
13 June 2012 Makeover at Lifeline’s Wyoming Centre
9 June 2012 Newcastle Permanent announces interest rate cut
6 June 2012 Accolades continue for Newcastle Permanent
5 June 2012 Newcastle Permanent places interest rates under review.
28 May 2012 Newcastle and Hunter charities to benefit in more than $250,000 in funding from Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation
9 May 2012 It’s Tool Time! Kurri Kurri Men’s Shed opens for business
7 May 2012 Newcastle Permanent cuts interest rate by 0.30%
26 April 2012 Newcastle Permanent staff donates $24,000 to support Breast Cancer sufferers
24 April 2012 New Sensory Program helps fight against dementia
13 April 2012 Supernova performance from Newcastle Permanent
4 April 2012 Local beaches safer thanks to new Rescue Water Craft
4 April 2012 $41,000 to bring native bush land to life in Port Macquarie
2 April 2012 Shhhhhh Secret men’s business underway at Umina Beach!
28 March 2012 Outdoor Adventures create life-changing opportunities for at risk youth
28 March 2012 $55,000 funding provides full-time employment for people with a disability
21 March 2012 Students stand up to schoolyard bullies
21 March 2012 New support for Central Coast children with cerebral palsy
19 March 2012 Boost for People with Disabilities
19 March 2012
Newcastle Permanent named Building Society of the Year for Customer Satisfaction
1 March 2012 Young people at risk take the controls
22 February 2012 Newcastle Permanent shows why it is 'Here for good'
15 February 2012 Newcastle Permanent announces interest rate changes
24 January 2012 Newcastle Permanent protecting local jobs
25 January 2012 Newcastle Permanent is Australian market leader for customer satisfaction

6 December 2012 - Newcastle Permanent wins Gold again for cheapest Home Loan Package

Newcastle Permanent’s Premium Plus home loan has been recognised again as the cheapest non bank home loan package in Australia.

Money magazine gave Newcastle Permanent the coveted Gold award at its annual “Best of the Best Awards” in Sydney yesterday.

In conjunction with independent research firm CANSTAR, Money magazine reviewed thousands of financial products to determine the best products in the market.

CEO Terry Millett said this was the third year in a row Newcastle Permanent had won this award.

“Newcastle Permanent is committed to offering its members highly competitive home loan packages and this award recognises that commitment,” Mr Millett said.

“In fact this year Newcastle Permanent was awarded both the Gold and Bronze medals in the same cheapest home loan package category!

“These awards provide further evidence that while we are a regionally based financial institution the value and quality of our products is equal to, or better than, anything available throughout Australia,” Mr Millett added

Newcastle Permanent also won two more Gold medals in the non-bank category for Best Savings Account and Cheapest Business Credit Card.

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6 December 2012 - Variable home loan rates cut by 0.20% p.a.

Effective Monday 17 December, Newcastle Permanent will reduce its variable home loan interest rates by 0.20% p.a. This represents a saving of approximately $37 per month or $444 per year for members with a $300,000 home loan.

"Currently more than 80% of our home loan funding is sourced from the deposits of our members. Intense competition from the major banks has driven up the cost of these deposits, which increases the cost of the money we use to fund our home loans." Mr Millett said.

CEO Terry Millett said when making the decision on how much to reduce the variable home loan rates the needs of all our more than 325,000 members were considered, including the 46,000 members with home loans.

"After this home loan interest rate reduction, our multi award winning home loan product range continues to be exceptionally competitive. We’re confident that we offer some of the best value home loans available in Australia, and we encourage new and existing customers to compare our home loan rates with other institutions'.

"Our Premium Plus home loan package received a coveted Gold award in the Money magazine ‘Best of the Best’ Awards for the third year in a row.

"We are committed to providing highly competitive home loan rates for our members and can announce today that, effective Monday, our one-year fixed home loan interest rate is now the lowest among any of the major banks in Australia at just 4.99% p.a."
 

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4 December 2012 - Newcastle Permanent reviews interest rates

Newcastle Permanent has placed its interest rates under review following the Reserve Bank of Australia’s announcement today to cut official interest rates.

The Reserve Bank reduced the official cash rate by 0.25% to 3.00%, their lowest level since the height of the Global Financial Crisis in September 2009.

Following the review of our interest rates, Newcastle Permanent will issue a further media release and if appropriate write to all members with a variable rate home loan to advise them and confirm their new minimum repayments.

Newcastle Permanent is a mutual, owned by our members. We don’t have to pay dividends to shareholders, which means our profit is entirely retained within the business to build financial strength and return benefits to our members.

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30 November 2012 - Don’t take the bait! - Stay safe online

Stay safe onlineIn recent months, the media has reported an increase of ‘phishing’ in Australia. This is where criminals send emails and text messages that look legitimate to trick people into giving out personal and banking information.

This information is then used to impersonate you and transfer funds or purchase goods. Here are some tips to help protect you:

  • Newcastle Permanent will NEVER ask you to confirm your identity or supply your password via an email
  • Do not open suspicious emails or attachments from unknown sources
  • Use a unique password and change it every few months
  • Keep your anti-virus software up to date
  • Register for VerifID, a free service that provides an additional layer of security for transactions on Internet Banking. For further information visit newcastlepermanent.com.au/verifid
  • Never send personal details, money or give credit card details to anyone you don’t know or trust
  • Never call a phone number that you believe has sent you a phishing SMS

If you think you have been caught in a scam or if you received an email from Newcastle Permanent asking you for information, please drop into your local branch or call us on 13 19 87.

The Australian Government also has a couple of sites with good information
www.scamwatch.gov.au and www.staysmartonline.gov.au

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21 November 2012 - Salvation Army Christmas Appeal

Each year, the Salvation Army helps thousands of families in need. This Christmas, the Salvation Army anticipates distributing 500,000 toys and 150,000 food vouchers/hampers.

All Newcastle Permanent branches are a collection point for non perishable food items and new gifts for the Salvation Army Christmas Appeal.

Suitable non-perishable food items for donation are: tins of ham, salmon, tuna, cans of vegetables, plum puddings, Christmas cakes, tins of fruit, packets of jelly, custard (powder), bottles of soft drink, packets or tins of biscuits, nuts, lollies, chocolates or other snacks, tea and coffee.

Suitable gifts for donation are: newly purchased toys, clothing, CDs, books, beauty products, toiletry items and home wares.

Donations of new toys, gifts and appropriate food items are vital in helping achieve this goal. Donations of non-perishable food and gifts can be left at our branches until Friday 21 December.

Find your local branch to make a donation.

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8 October 2012 - Variable home loan rates cut by 0.20%

Effective Tuesday 9 October, we will be reducing all our variable home loan interest rates by 0.20%.

This is a saving of approximately $37 per month or $444 per annum for members with a $300,000 home loan,

CEO Terry Millett said the needs of all members were considered, including the 46,000 members with home loans.

"After this most recent home loan interest rate cut, our multi award winning home loan product range remains highly competitive. Our highly popular Discounted Real Deal home loan will be just 5.60% p.a.

"Almost 80% of our home loan funding is sourced from the retail deposits of our members. The major banks have driven up the costs of retail deposit funding via intense price competition in Term Deposit and regular Savings product interest rates, which increases the cost of the money we use to fund our home loans."

"We are committed to providing highly competitive home loan rates for our members. This commitment was recognised recently when we received the Home Lender of the Year award from Financial Review’s Smart Investor magazine for the third time in four years, outperforming every bank, building society and credit union in Australia, including the four major banks," Mr Millett said.

"In fact we are so confident that we have some of the best home loans available in Australia that this month we are challenging anyone who still has a home loan with one of the 4 major banks to see one of our home loan experts and we will beat their current home loan interest rate or we will give them $200."

Comparison of Standard Variable Home Loan rates
(Based on latest announcements)
Newcastle Permanent 6.25% p.a.
NAB 6.58% p.a.
CBA 6.60% p.a.
Westpac 6.71% p.a.
ANZ Yet to announce

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2 October 2012 - Reserve Bank cuts rates

At 2.30pm today the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) announced its decision to reduce the Official Cash Rate (OCR) by 0.25% from 3.50% to 3.25%.

Following the RBA’s decision, we are reviewing our position but have not made a decision at this time.

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2 October 2012- Notice of Annual General Meeting

Notice is given that the Annual General Meeting of Newcastle Permanent Building Society Limited (NPBS) will be held:

Date:     Friday 26 October 2012
Time:    12 noon
Venue:  Newcastle Permanent Building Society 
               Level 6, 307 King Street 
               Newcastle West

Business
The general nature of the business proposed for the meeting includes:

Ordinary Business:

1. Consideration of Reports
To receive and consider the Financial Report, the Directors’ Report and the Independent Auditor’s Report of NPBS for the financial year ended 30 June 2012.

2. Election and Re-Election of Directors
To consider, and if thought appropriate, to pass the following as Ordinary Resolutions:

2.1 "That Michael Damien Slater, being a Director retiring pursuant to Articles 8.3 and 8.5 is re-elected as a Director."

2.2 "That Philip Jack Neat, being a Director retiring pursuant to Articles 8.3 and 8.5 is re-elected as a Director."

2.3 "That Samantha Jane Martin-Williams, being a Director appointed by the Directors pursuant to Article 8.8 is elected as a Director."

3. Directors’ Fees
To consider and, if thought appropriate, to pass the following resolution as an Ordinary Resolution:

"That the maximum aggregate amount payable to the Directors annually by way of Directors’ Fees is increased by an amount equivalent to 5.0% effective from 1 July 2012."

4. Approval of Retirement Benefits
To consider, and if thought appropriate, to pass the following resolutions as Ordinary Resolutions:

  4.1 Retirement benefit for Mr Kevin G. Jarry

"That Mr Kevin Jarry be granted a retirement benefit equivalent to the amount that he would receive if he retired as a Director of Newcastle Permanent Building Society Limited on 26 October 2012, being $254,653.36, when he retires as a Director and is not re-elected as a Director, or otherwise ceases to be a Director, of Newcastle Permanent Building Society Limited."

  4.2 Retirement benefit for Mr P. Wayne Morris

"That Mr Wayne Morris be granted a retirement benefit equivalent to the amount that he would receive if he retired as a Director of Newcastle Permanent Building Society Limited on 26 October 2012, being $254,653.36, when he retires as a Director and is not re-elected as a Director, or otherwise ceases to be a Director, of Newcastle Permanent Building Society Limited."

Voting Entitlement and Notices
Members who had a minimum of $500 invested with NPBS for a continuous period of at least 90 days immediately preceding 30 June 2012 are members that are entitled to vote at the meeting. If you are a member who is entitled to vote and you have not received notice of the meeting, you may request personal notice of the meeting by sending a written request including your name, address and account number to the Company Secretary at PO Box 5001 Hunter Region Mail Centre NSW 2310.

By Order of the Board
Andrew Yost
Company Secretary.

 

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27 August 2012 - Newcastle Permanent claims back-to-back titles for Home Lender of the Year

Newcastle Permanent Building Society has again been recognised as Home Lender of the Year at the Financial Review Smart Investor Blue Ribbon Awards for 2012.

The prestigious award is open to all financial institutions including the major banks making the win much more significant for a regionally based organisation.

Newcastle Permanent CEO Terry Millett said the Building Society has now won this award three times in four years, which is an acknowledgement of the high quality home loan products and consistently competitive pricing Newcastle Permanent members enjoy.

“I am delighted we were able to win this award back-to-back. It shows that despite intense competition in the home loan market, our mortgage products across all categories represent best value for money in  Australia,” Mr Millett said.

“The reason we can offer such competitive home loans is that as a customer-owned banking organisation we are not aggressively focussed on shareholder returns and profits like the major banks.

“Newcastle Permanent is the largest customer-owned banking institution in NSW and is a genuine alternative to the traditional banks. Winning the Home Lender of the Year award for the third time reinforces that our ambition is achievable," Mr Millett said.

Newcastle Permanent also achieved back-to-back awards for Building Society of the Year and best Premium Home Loan Banking Package and was the only full-service financial institution to win four awards.

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1 August 2012 - We're open on Bank Holiday

Continuing our commitment to our valued Members, Newcastle Permanent will be open for business on Bank Holiday, Monday 6 August 2012.

For your convenience our branch network and Member Support Centre will be open, so you can continue to do all your everyday banking - we call it fair go banking.

For more information speak to a Member Support Representative on 13 19 87.

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26 June 2012 - Newcastle Permanent staff gives local charity a "High Five"

Newcastle Permanent staff has donated more than $4,000 to the Give Me 5 For Kids fundraising appeal in Newcastle.

The donation from the staff at Newcastle Permanent is the largest donation received this year and will be used by John Hunter Children’s Hospital to purchase essential equipment for the Hospital’s Paediatric Emergency Department.

The Newcastle donation is part of a $24,000 staff donation to Give Me 5 For Kids across Newcastle, the Central Coast and Coffs Harbour. The Southern Cross Austereo Network Ten initiative runs for the entire month of June and raises funds for seriously ill children in the local area.

Newcastle Permanent staff raised the donation through voluntary staff donations for the organisation’s CommunityAssist program, which raises almost $50,000 a year for charities.

The program allows employees to contribute a percentage of their wage each week, which is then donated to charities nominated by Newcastle Permanent staff across the Hunter, Central Coast, Mid North Coast, New England and Northern Rivers regions.

Newcastle Permanent Acting CEO Mark Williams said everyone was keen to support the Give Me 5 For Kids fundraising appeal which makes a valuable contribution in providing support to seriously ill children.

"This is a great example of two community minded organisations in Newcastle Permanent and Network Ten joining forces to produce a positive outcome for John Hunter Children’s Hospital’s Paediatric Emergency Department," Mr Williams said.

"The CommunityAssist program is an excellent employee initiative and reflects their commitment to supporting worthwhile projects and organisations within the community."

John Hunter Children’s Hospital Director of Emergency Dr Mark Lee said the Newcastle Permanent staff are contributing toward an important piece of equipment that will be used daily in the emergency department.

"This generous donation will allow us to purchase a portable oximeter, which will allow clinicians to easily measure oxygen saturation and pulse rate, the simplicity is very important in an emergency department that has nearly 20,000 children present each year," Dr Lee said.

"The Children’s Hospital has strong links with the Newcastle Permanent and we thank the staff for not only thinking of us, but for the important contribution they are making from their own pockets."

Newcastle Permanent also provides all staff with two community leave days each year so they can help out in their community doing volunteer work for local charities and not-forprofit organisations.

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21 June 2012 - Closing date for super contributions

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT:

Closing date for contributions to Newcastle Permanent Superannuation Plan is 3pm Tuesday 26 June 2012.

To help ensure that your contribution is credited this financial year please make your contribution by this date.

For more information speak to our Financial Planning Team on (02) 4927 4370

Here’s some more information for you: This advertisement has been prepared by Newcastle Permanent Building Society Ltd ACN 087 651 992, Australian Credit Licence/Australian Financial Services Licence 238273 for the general information of members of the Newcastle Permanent Superannuation Plan (the Plan). Any advice contained in this advertisement has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of that, before acting on any advice, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice having regard to your personal circumstances. We recommend that you obtain advice from a licensed, or appropriately authorised, financial adviser before acting on any information contained in this advertisement. While all due care and diligence has been taken in the preparation of this advertisement, the Trustee reserves the right to correct any errors or omissions. If there are any inconsistencies between the terms of the Plan trust deed or its investment or insurance policies and this advertisement, the terms of the trust deed and its investment and insurance policies will prevail. The Plan’sSuperannuation Helpline and the Plan’s website are provided by Mercer Outsourcing (Australia) Pty Ltd ABN 83 068 908 912 AFSL #411980. A Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) is available for the product referred to in this advertisement by calling 13 19 87, visiting our website www.newcastlepermanent.com.au or at any of our branches. The PDS should be considered before making any decisions about this product.
This advertisement is only applicable to members of the Superannuation Division of the Plan and is issued by Mercer Superannuation (Australia) Limited (MSAL) ABN 79 004 717 433, Australian Financial Services Licence #235906 as Trustee of the Newcastle Permanent Superannuation Plan ABN 57 170 878 804

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20 June 2012 - We’ve updated our Mobile Website

Newcastle Permanent Mobile Website updateAt Newcastle Permanent we always strive to improve the online experience for our Members. Today you may notice some new features we’ve added to make using this service easier for you.

We’ve increased the size of the Mobile Banking login buttons, moved the ‘Mobile Banking Help’ menu item to the bottom of the home page and added a message banner to keep you abreast of the latest information regarding your banking.

If you have any feedback about our Mobile Website our team in the Member Support Centre would love to hear from you, call them on 13 19 87.

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13 June 2012 - Makeover at Lifeline’s Wyoming Centre

Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation has funded a $29,970 refurbishment at Lifeline Central Coast's (NSW) Wyoming Centre.

The Charitable Foundation funding has gone towards the refurbishment of training and counselling rooms to create a better environment for staff, volunteers and those in need on the Central Coast.

Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation Chairman Michael Slater said Lifeline Central Coast (NSW) offers a vital service to the local community and it was important for the organisation to continue working to its full operational capacity.

The Charitable Foundation saw great value in providing funding to Lifeline Central Coast (NSW). This organisation offers crisis support and other telephone counselling services to the community which is saving lives and giving people hope.

“It is important that the staff and volunteers at the Wyoming Centre have the best facilities available to assist the community,” Mr Slater said.

The centre answers between 7000 and 8000 calls per year and also sees numerous „walk-in‟ clients seeking assistance.

Lifeline Central Coast (NSW) CEO Christine Kettleton said the refurbishments have increased staff and volunteer morale and allowed for a more positive culture at the Centre.

"Prior to the renovations, all the furnishings and office equipment was donated and showing signs of wear and tear. Staff were often required to share desks which reduced productivity and caused major privacy and confidentiality concerns for callers to the service," Ms Kettleton said.

"The Charitable Foundation funding has allowed us to provide fully-functional workstations and a more welcoming environment for staff and volunteers. This in turn translates to a benefit for callers who ring the service, often in a state of high distress.

"We would like to thank Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation for the funding to help improve the services we offer," Ms Kettleton said.

Local charity and not-for-profit organisations are invited to apply for the next Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation funding round, which closes on 12 October 2012. 

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9 June 2012 - Newcastle Permanent announces interest rate cut

Newcastle Permanent Building Society has announced today it will reduce its variable home loan interest rate by 0.21% p.a. following the Reserve Bank’s announcement on Tuesday 5 June that it had reduced official interest rates by 0.25%.

The saving for members with a variable home loan rate will be approximately $38 per month or $456 per annum for a $300,000 home loan. This saving is in addition to the $56 a month reduction announced in May.

Newcastle Permanent Acting CEO Mark Williams said since 2008 Newcastle Permanent has reduced variable home loan interest rates by more than the four major banks. "After this latest reduction our Discounted Real Deal home loan will be just 5.80% per annum," Mr Williams said.

"In making this decision we considered the needs of all our members including those with deposits and those with home loans," Mr Williams said.

The decrease in Newcastle Permanent’s variable rate home loans will be effective from 18 June 2012.

Newcastle Permanent also has very competitive fixed rate home loans with a standard 2 year fixed rate home loan lower than all the major banks at just 5.79% p.a.


Comparison of Standard Variable Home Loan rates
(Based on latest announcements)
Newcastle Permanent 6.45% p.a.
Westpac 6.89% p.a.
CBA 6.80% p.a.
ANZ 6.80% p.a.
NAB 6.78% p.a.

 

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6 June 2012 - Accolades continue for Newcastle Permanent.

Newcastle Permanent Building Society has been named Money magazine’s Building Society of the Year 2012. This is the third time Newcastle Permanent has received this award.

These highly regarded awards are judged by a team of finance experts from Money magazine and CANSTAR who assess every Australian financial institution on its range of products and services, with honours awarded across three categories – Building Societies, Banks and Credit Unions. 

Newcastle Permanent Acting CEO Mark Williams said the award acknowledges the superior value, products, pricing and service delivered to  Newcastle Permanent’s members. 

"As a mutual organisation our focus is on returning the best possible benefit to our members through better interest rates, lower fees and market leading features," Mr Williams said.  

"At Newcastle Permanent we strive to put our members and local communities first. We see evidence every day that people are looking for an alternative to the major banks that is big enough to meet all of their financial needs but is also genuinely committed to reinvesting their success back  into local communities rather than shareholders. 

"Being named Building Society of the Year again reinforces the quality and strength of our business and validates our belief that a regionally based mutual can deliver products and services to match or better any financial institution in Australia," Mr Williams said.

Winning the Money magazine award caps off another stellar year for Newcastle Permanent. In April this year 20 of its home loans received a 5-star rating from CANSTAR while in March it was named Building Society of the Year in Roy Morgan’s Customer Satisfaction Awards with the highest proportion of satisfied customers/members of any financial institution in Australia at 94%. 

Newcastle Permanent is the largest Building Society in Australia in terms of net assets.*

*net assets under management as at 30/06/2011

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5 June 2012 - Newcastle Permanent places interest rates under review.

Newcastle Permanent has confirmed today that it has placed its interest rates under review following the Reserve Bank’s announcement today to cut rates by 0.25%.

Newcastle Permanent already offers highly competitive home loans in comparison to the major banks and will need to balance the needs of all members when making a decision on interest rates movements.

While a reduction in interest rates is welcome news for people with home loans it does have a negative impact on members with interest-bearing deposit accounts and this will also be considered as part of the interest rate decision.

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28 May 2012 - Newcastle and Hunter charities to benefit in more than $250,000 in funding from Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation

Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation (Charitable Foundation) is pleased to announce $877,781 in funding to 14 charitable organisations throughout regional New South Wales.

This is the Charitable Foundation's second and final round of funding for 2011/12 and includes $255,899 for Newcastle and Hunter charities, as part of its $1.5 million annual grants program.

Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation Chairman Michael Slater said the Charitable Foundation was delighted to be able to provide such a significant level of support to Newcastle and the Hunter.

"In this most recent funding round we received submissions totaling approximately $4.9 million, more than double the amount requested in the last funding round, from more than 105 charitable organisations. These numbers reflect the significant demand for funding from not-for-profit and charitable organisations. We believe the 14 projects that received funding offer significant long term, and often life changing, benefits to people in the local community," Mr. Slater said.

"These grants also allow the volunteers and staff working on these important community projects to concentrate on delivering the community benefits rather than focusing on fundraising.

"Many not-for-profit community groups need significant financial support, as they do not qualify for government or corporate funding. This is where organisations such as the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation can make an important contribution to community well-being by helping those organisations that rely on philanthropic funding," Mr. Slater said.

The following local charitable organisations have received funding approval:

  • Firstchance Incorporated has received $48,863 to implement its “Technology to Autonomy” project aimed at assisting children and young people with disabilities and special needs. The program utilises modern technology, such as IPads, IPods, Smart Boards and assistive software, to increase, maintain or improve the learning capabilities of people with a disability.
  • Jenny’s Place Incorporated will use the $28,900 grant to purchase an additional outreach vehicle to support individuals and families experiencing domestic violence. Jenny’s Place Incorporated is a women and children’s crisis refuge and the vehicle will allow the organisation to provide better outreach services, support and education.
  • Witmore Enterprises Incorporated received $51,000 to construct and fit-out a new multi-purpose room for people with a disability participating in its Life Skills and Transition to Work programs in Singleton. The funding will also help modify the existing lunchroom into a fully-equipped, wheelchair accessible training kitchen.
  • The Leukaemia Foundation of Australia Limited’s $25,750 grant will allow for the purchase of an environmentally friendly vehicle for its Patient Transport Service in Newcastle.
  • Variety The Children’s Charity (NSW) will use $82,500 of its $247,500 grant to support its Vision for Life Project at the John Hunter and Singleton Hospitals. This project seeks to produce virtual hospitals, via tele-medicine video conferencing systems, for the diagnosis of sick or critically injured children in regional and remote areas.
  • Vision Australia received $18,886 for the purchase of 12 Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY) players for its Newcastle, Gosford, Coffs Harbour, Lismore and Tamworth centres. The players will allow clients to access information otherwise not available to people who are blind or vision impaired. The grant will also allow for the purchase and installation of an Adaptive Technology Training Kit at its Gosford centre.

Local charity and not-for-profit organisations are invited to apply for the next Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation funding round, which closes on 12 October 2012.
 

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9 May 2012 It’s Tool Time! Kurri Kurri Men’s Shed opens for business

Kurri Kurri now boasts its own Men’s Shed, thanks to funding from Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation.

The Charitable Foundation provided $76,500 to help with the construction of the Men’s Shed.

Charitable Foundation Chairman Michael Slater said the Men’s Shed is an important project because it will allow men of all ages in the community to share their skills and knowledge with others and develop new friendships.

"The Men’s Shed movement is very strong and the Charitable Foundation is delighted to help Kurri Kurri establish a base for their community.

"I am sure the shed will be put to good use in assisting community projects, forging great community partnerships and providing an outlet for retired local men to continue to make a positive contribution to the community," Mr Slater said.

The Men’s shed already has 50 men signed on and more are expected to join during the year.

General Manager of the Kurri Kurri Community Centre, Sue Burston said the Men’s Shed would not have been possible without the grant from the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation

"Our goal is to use the experience and skills of the ‘shedders’ to mentor and encourage local young people and people with a disability to become involved in activities and become members themselves," Sue said.

"There has been some great work already undertaken by the men including fixing up a boat in a local school playground and the construction of a 'time out' pergola for another school and there are plenty more jobs on the list!"

The Men’s shed will be located behind the Kurri Kurri Community Centre at 18 Brunker Street.

Local charity and not-for-profit organisations are invited to apply for the next Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation funding round, which closes on Friday 12 October 2012.

The Charitable Foundation distributes more than $1.5 million annually to local not-for-profit organisations in the Hunter, New England, Central Coast, Northern Rivers and Mid North Coast. Since 2004 the Charitable Foundation has provided over $8 million to more than 220 organisations.

To make an application for a grant or to obtain further information, go to www.newcastlepermanent.com.au, phone 13 19 87, or visit a Newcastle Permanent branch.

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7 May 2012 Newcastle Permanent cuts interest rate by 0.30%

The Newcastle Permanent Building Society has announced today it will reduce its variable home loan interest rate by 0.30% following the Reserve Bank's announcement on Tuesday 1 May that it had reduced official interest rates by 0.5%.

The saving for members with a variable home loan rate will be approximately $56 per month or $672 per annum for a $300,000 home loan.

Newcastle Permanent CEO Terry Millett said in making this decision we considered the needs of all our members including those with deposits and those with home loans.

"Almost 80% of our home loan funding is sourced from our members' retail deposits. The major banks have driven up the costs of retail deposit funding via intense price competition in deposit rates, and this increases the cost of the money that we use to fund our home loans," Mr Millett said.

"Since 2008 Newcastle Permanent has reduced variable home loan interest rates more than the four major banks.

"After this home loan interest rate cut Newcastle Permanent's multi award winning home loan product range remains highly competitive. Our highly popular Discounted Real Deal home loan will be just 6.01% p.a.

"Newcastle Permanent is committed to providing highly competitive home loan rates for our members. This commitment was recognised recently when 20 of our home loans were awarded a 5-star rating from CANSTAR. This result outperforms every bank, building society and credit union in Australia, including the four major banks," Mr Millett said.

The decrease in Newcastle Permanent's variable rate home loans will be effective, Monday, 14 May 2012.

Comparison of Standard Variable Home Loans
(Based on latest announcement)

Newcastle Permanent 6.66% p.a.
NAB 6.99% p.a.
CBA 7.01% p.a.
Westpac 7.09% p.a.
ANZ Yet to announce

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26 April 2012 Newcastle Permanent staff donates $24,000 to support Breast Cancer sufferers

The Tomaree Breast Cancer Support Group Inc is the beneficiary of a generous $24,063 donation from the staff of Newcastle Permanent.

The Tomaree Breast Cancer Support Group Inc received the donation through the Newcastle Permanent CommunityAssist program. The program has been operating for 17 years and enables employees to contribute a percentage of their wages which is then donated to charities nominated by Newcastle Permanent staff.

The Support Group is dedicated to supporting women affected by breast cancer on the Tomaree Peninsula.

The donation will support patients by paying for housecleaning, lawn mowing, patient trips to hospital, wigs and prostheses for the next four years. The funding will also go towards the purchase of a computer and phone for the Support Group’s volunteer counsellor to stay in touch with patients while travelling.

Newcastle Permanent CEO Terry Millett said the effects of cancer reach far and wide within our community and so staff were keen to support this nomination.

"The organisers of the Support Group are well known to the branch staff in Nelson Bay and our staff across regional NSW were happy to assist this organisation continue the fantastic work it does,” Mr Millett said.

The Newcastle Permanent CommunityAssist program distributes funds twice a year to nominated charities across the Hunter, Central Coast, Mid North Coast, New England and Northern Rivers regions.

"Employees instigated the program so they could support worthwhile projects and organisations within the community. This culture from our staff is reflected in the wideranging community support shown by Newcastle Permanent and Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation,” Mr Millett said.

Tomaree Breast Cancer Support Group Inc President Taurie Lalor said the Support Group, and the families it helps, is extremely grateful for the donation from Newcastle Permanent staff.

"Part of the money will go towards covering our everyday operating expenses over the next four years which relieves a significant financial burden for us."

"We really are so appreciative to the staff of Newcastle Permanent for this wonderful gift. I cannot convey our gratitude enough and we are committed to using these funds for the benefit of our patients in the Tomaree area," Ms Lalor said.

Newcastle Permanent also provides all staff with special community leave days each year so they can help out in the community doing volunteer work for local charities and not-forprofit organisations.

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24 April 2012 New Sensory Program helps fight against dementia

Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation (Charitable Foundation) is helping those with dementia and their carers through a $32,000 grant to fund sensory programs aimed at stimulating lost memories.

The grant has allowed Mercy Community Services to construct a sensory garden, outdoor BBQ area and disability toilet at their West Wallsend Centre.

According to a 2011 Economic Access Report from the Alzheimer’s Association of NSW, nearly 4,000 people in Newcastle and the Hunter suffer from dementia, a number that will soar to nearly 12,000 by 2050.

Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation Chairman Michael Slater said Mercy Community Services provide valuable programs that have both therapeutic and health benefits for people with dementia.

"The Mercy Community Services sensory program aims to assist people with dementia by stimulating their senses and hopefully rousing certain older memories. Helping the more vulnerable members of our community is an objective that is greatly valued by our Board and fits with the ethos of the Charitable Foundation,” Mr Slater said.

Mercy Community Services General Manager Roy Hambly said the Charitable Foundation grant has allowed for the expansion of its programs.

"We now have eight programs operating at our West Wallsend Centre which includes a Dementia Monitoring and Social Support service. Currently we have approximately 25 – 30 clients on our Centre based lunch and activity days," Mr Hambly said.

"The people participating in the programs enjoy using the garden and we are starting to see some positive results from our dementia clients.

"The grant from Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation has made the construction of our sensory garden possible and will provide endless hours of enjoyment for our clients," Mr Hambly said.

Mercy Community Services also offer home maintenance, domestic assistance, centrebased meals, social support, personal care, community nursing, community transport and a network and monitoring service for people with dementia living in their own home.

Local charity and not-for-profit organisations are invited to apply for the next Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation funding round, which closes on Friday 12 October 2012.

The Charitable Foundation distributes more than $1.5 million annually to local not-for-profit organisations in the Hunter, New England, Central Coast, Northern Rivers and Mid North Coast. Since 2004 the Charitable Foundation has provided over $8 million to more than 220 community organisations.

To make an application for a grant or to obtain further information, go to www.newcastlepermanent.com.au, phone 13 19 87, or visit a Newcastle Permanent branch.

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13 April 2012 Supernova performance from Newcastle Permanent

Newcastle Permanent Building Society has achieved a stellar performance receiving twenty 5-star ratings for its home loans by CANSTAR, one of Australia’s leading financial research firms.

Newcastle Permanent CEO Terry Millett said the Newcastle Permanent now has more CANSTAR 5-star rated home loans than any bank, building society or credit union in Australia including all the major banks.

“CANSTAR analyses more than 1,900 home loans from financial institutions around Australia taking into consideration the interest rate, fees and features of each loan. Only the home loans in the top five-ten per cent receive a 5-star rating,” Mr Millett said.

“This success is good news for our members who enjoy the benefit of our superior quality and value for money home loans.

“Our strong result was achieved while 48 fixed rate products from other financial institutions lost their five star rating.

“We will continue to work hard to ensure our home loan products continue to be recognised as among the best in the industry,” Mr Millett said.

Newcastle Permanent’s chart topping performance with its 5-star rated home loans follows the recent announcement from Roy Morgan, which named Newcastle Permanent “Building Society of the Year” for customer service, and the Australian Home Lender of the Year award from Financial Review’s Smart Investor magazine.

The 20 home loans to be awarded a 5-star rating are:

  • Discounted Real Deal 3 years
  • Investment Discounted Real Deal 3 years
  • Investment Fixed 1 year
  • Investment Fixed 2 years
  • Investment Fixed 3 years
  • Investment Fixed 5 years
  • Investment Real Deal
  • Premium Plus Package Investment Fixed 1 year
  • Premium Plus Package Investment Fixed 2 year
  • Premium Plus Package Investment Premium Variable $250K to $500K
  • Premium Plus Package Premium Variable 250K to 500K
  • Premium Plus Package Real Equity 250K to 500K
  • Premium Plus Package Residential Fixed 1 yr
  • Premium Plus Package Residential Fixed 2 yrs
  • Premium Plus Package Residential Fixed 3 yrs
  • Premium Plus Package Residential Fixed 5 yrs
  • Residential Fixed 1 yr
  • Residential Fixed 2 yrs
  • Residential Fixed 3 yrs
  • Residential Fixed 5 yrs

Whether you are a first home buyer, upgrading your home, building or renovating, investing or refinancing we have a range of solutions for you. Learn more about our range of award winning home loans.

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4 April 2012 Local beaches safer thanks to new Rescue Water Craft

A  $13,420 grant by Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation (Charitable Foundation) will help keep local beaches and waterways safe for residents and visitors.

The grant to Surf Life Saving Lower North Coast Branch has been used to purchase a new Rescue Water Craft (RWC) that will offer a more efficient rescue service around the Great Lakes and Greater Taree areas, specifically Forster Bar and nearby beaches.

Chairman of Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation Michael Slater said the important services offered by the Surf Life Saving branch made it a very worthy recipient of the grant from the Charitable Foundation.

"In their submission for funding, the branch highlighted the tragic death of a popular local fisherman on the Forster Bar in 2010. The Charitable Foundation recognised the importance of having a RWC based at the Forster Marina pontoon and also the community’s drive in raising funds for the pontoon.

"This project is a wonderful example of a community uniting to generate a positive outcome for locals and tourists alike and I congratulate those involved for their determination.

'We are proud to be a part of this community initiative and provide the grant of $13,420 towards such a worthy cause,' Mr. Slater said.

The Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation grant has also allowed for the purchase of a search and rescue manikin to assist in rescue training.

Brian Wilcox Surf Life Saving Lower North Coast Branch President said the new RWC and the search and rescue manikin will ensure volunteer members are fully prepared for protecting the local beaches.

"The new RWC will significantly heighten the ability to effectively perform search and rescue operations. The funding has ensured that our team has the up-to-date training and support," Mr Wilcox said.

"Locating the RWC on the new pontoon at the Forster Marina will ensure easy access, and improve rescue response times on the Forster Bar and surrounding areas.

"This project was initiated by members of the local community and we are grateful for the generosity and vision of the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation. We would also like to thank other local supporters including District 44 Masonic-Charities, Wallis Lake Fishermans Co-op, Great Lakes Tackle, Forster Fresh Seafoods, Great Lakes Council, and the Parker family for their support of this project," Mr Wilcox said.

Footnotes:
The Surf Life Saving Lower North Coast Branch is responsible for the surveillance of 22 beaches within the Great Lakes and Greater Taree areas.

Local charity and not-for-profit organisations are invited to apply for the next Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation funding round, which closes this Thursday 12 October 2012.

The Charitable Foundation distributes more than $1.5 million annually to local not-for-profit organisations in the Hunter, New England, Central Coast, Northern Rivers and Mid North Coast. Since 2004 the Charitable Foundation has provided over $8 million to more than 220 organisations.

To make an application for a grant or to obtain further information, go to www.newcastlepermanent.com.au, phone 13 19 87, or visit a Newcastle Permanent branch.

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4 April 2012 $41,000 to bring native bush land to life in Port Macquarie

Volunteers at the Port Macquarie Landcare Group have been rewarded for their dedication to environmental protection and rejuvenation with a $41,642 grant.

The grant from Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation (Charitable Foundation) has allowed the Landcare Group to purchase and fit out a new vehicle to transport plants, water, tools, equipment, signs, furniture and volunteers to projects and working bees throughout the Hastings area.

Charitable Foundation Chairman Michael Slater said the Landcare Group is actively ensuring there are areas of native vegetation in the Port Macquarie area, despite the challenges of increasing urbanisation. This is an excellent outcome for the local community.

"The 140 volunteers from the Port Macquarie Landcare Group work tirelessly to ensure that the community can enjoy the native bushland around the area. The Charitable Foundation funding will take pressure off volunteers and allow them to focus on protecting and restoring native bushland,” Mr Slater said.

"Last year Port Macquarie Landcare volunteers travelled more than 14,000km in their own cars working on various projects.

"By providing funding for a new van, volunteers will no longer have to use their own cars to transport heavy plants and tools, which was also a safety issue," Mr Slater said.

Port Macquarie Landcare Group President Estelle Gough said the Charitable Foundation funding has provided a great relief in co-ordinating working bees and projects across the Port Macquarie area.

"Each month we run 37 different working bees. Having the van to transport equipment and plants to and from these working bees has been invaluable for our organisation, and we are very grateful to the Charitable Foundation for their significant support" Ms Gough said.

"Each month we are reaching new milestones in our environmental restoration and protection," Ms Gough said.

Port Macquarie Landcare Group volunteers contribute over 11,000 hours to the ongoing regeneration of public bushland assets per year.

Local charity and not-for-profit organisations are invited to apply for the next Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation funding round, which closes on 12 October 2012.

The Charitable Foundation distributes more than $1.5 million annually to local not-for-profit organisations in the Hunter, New England, Central Coast, Northern Rivers and Mid North Coast. Since 2004 the Charitable Foundation has provided over $8 million to more than 220 organisations.

To make an application for a grant or to obtain further information, go to www.newcastlepermanent.com.au, phone 13 19 87, or visit a Newcastle Permanent branch.

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2 April 2012 Shhhhhh Secret men’s business underway at Umina Beach!

Generations of local men are celebrating the opening of Peninsula Village Men’s Shed at Umina Beach today, thanks to funding from Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation (Charitable Foundation).

$34,209 was granted to Peninsula Village to purchase tools and equipment for the Men's Shed, as well as make the building accessible for members with a disability.

Charitable Foundation Chairman Michael Slater said the Men’s Shed is an important project because it will allow men of all ages in the community to share their skills and knowledge with others and develop new friendships.

"The Charitable Foundation provided funding to the Peninsula Village Men’s Shed project because it will assist to develop a sense of community, breaking down age and skill barriers and offering constructive intergenerational activities," Mr Slater said.

"I am sure the residents from the Peninsula Village and other men in the region will have a fantastic time in ‘the Shed’ and a lot of great work will be accomplished.

Activities at the Men’s Shed include traditional woodwork and metalwork workshops as well as cooking classes for men who need to brush up on culinary skills. Women are also welcome to attend activities at the Men’s Shed.

Peninsula Village CEO Shane Neaves said the Men’s Shed movement has proven to be a successful way to encourage men to gather, create friendships, share knowledge and work together on worthwhile projects.

“Men living in an aged care facility can often feel isolated and depressed, particularly if they have no family in the area. Men’s Sheds have demonstrated success in contributing to improvements in male health and wellbeing," Mr Neaves said.

“Our Men’s Shed gives residents of the Village a sense of purpose and the opportunity to pass on their experience and expertise to local young people.

"Many of the young men that are involved in the Men’s Shed are socially disadvantaged and often missing the influence of a father or grandfather in their lives. The Men’s Shed provides the opportunity for bonding across generations.

'The Australian Men’s Shed Association states ‘men don’t talk face to face, they talk shoulder to shoulder’ and without the support of the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation we would not have been able to provide local men with this opportunity," Mr Neaves said.

Local charity and not-for-profit organisations are invited to apply for the next Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation funding round, which closes on 5 April 2012.

The Charitable Foundation distributes more than $1.5 million annually to local not-for-profit organisations in the Hunter, New England, Central Coast, Northern Rivers and Mid North Coast. Since 2004 the Charitable Foundation has provided over $8 million to more than 220 organisations.

To make an application for a grant or to obtain further information, go to www.newcastlepermanent.com.au, phone 13 19 87, or visit a Newcastle Permanent branch.

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28 March 2012 Outdoor Adventures create life-changing opportunities for at risk youth

The Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation (Charitable Foundation) today announced a $50,000 grant to local charity Evolve for its adventure therapy program "Recre8".

The Recre8 program engages with at-risk young people aged 14 to 19 and operates in Bushland and National Parks across the Northern Rivers area.

Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation Chairman Michael Slater said the program takes up to 10 at-risk young people at a time for a 10-day trip through rainforests, across mountains, creeks and rivers on foot, bike and canoe.

"The program offers the participants the opportunity for personal discovery as well as developing life skills like meal preparation, camping, team-work, communication, planning, canoeing, abseiling and orienteering," Mr Slater said.

"One of the great aspects of this adventure therapy program is its level of success with participants who have shown significant improvement in levels of motivation, school performance, social confidence and a reduction in risk behaviours.

"The work by Evolve empowers these young people to reconnect with their communities and become active and positive contributors to society which is the target outcome," Mr Slater said.

The 10-day expeditions depart from Mebbin Springs and finish in Lismore. Prior to the hike all participants take part in an overnight, two-day pre-camp to prepare for their adventure.

Evolve State Manager for Queensland Graham Pringle said the grant from Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation is the first significant grant that Recre8 has ever received.

"Without this grant from the Charitable Foundation we would have been unable to continue the program this year," Mr Pringle said.

"We are delighted with the funding as this program is successful in delivering profound change in the lives of the young individuals involved."

Local charity and not-for-profit organisations are invited to apply for the next Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation funding round, which closes on 12 October 2012.

The Charitable Foundation distributes more than $1.5 million annually to local not-for-profit organisations in the Hunter, New England, Central Coast, Northern Rivers and Mid North Coast. Since 2004 it has provided over $8 million to more than 220 organisations.

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28 March 2012 $55,000 funding provides full-time employment for people with a disability

Seven local people with disabilities have gained full-time employment as a result of $55,000 in funding from Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation.

House With No Steps received the grant to expand its commercial nursery operations, and add to the increasing infrastructure at its Alstonville base, known as 'Summerland House Farm'.

Charitable Foundation Chairman Michael Slater said this funding request was granted because it represented an investment in an economically sustainable project. The project generates jobs for local people with a disability and creates much needed revenue to assist House With No Steps to provide important services to the Northern Rivers community.

"Another important aspect of the nursery project is that it provides training and qualifications for people with a disability".

House With No Steps Regional Manager Brett Lacey said they were very grateful for the grant from Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation which will provide a real benefit to many local people and their families.

"Full-time employment increases social interaction and fosters a sense of purpose and value for people with a disability. It also benefits families by providing increased respite," Mr Lacey said.

"We can see how important it is for our employees to have their work valued by others, particularly their peers. Full-time work provides them with a great sense of purpose because they are actively participating in the community."

Employee Shelley Holland is brand new at Summerland House Farm and says she now has so much to look forward to each week.

"I love coming to the farm”, says Shelley. “I have never experienced anything like this before. I’m meeting new people and really enjoy my job. I really like helping people".

Currently, House With No Steps’ Summerland House Farm site provides employment and training opportunities for 89 people with a disability.

Other areas of employment include office administration, agriculture, garden maintenance, restaurant and hospitality services, retail and tourism.

Local charity and not-for-profit organisations are invited to apply for the next Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation funding round, which closes on 5 April 2012.

The Charitable Foundation distributes more than $1.5 million annually to local not-for-profit organisations in the Hunter, New England, Central Coast, Northern Rivers and Mid North Coast. Since 2004 the Charitable Foundation has provided over $8 million to more than 220 organisations.

To make an application for a grant or to obtain further information, go to www.newcastlepermanent.com.au, phone 13 19 87, or visit a Newcastle Permanent branch.

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21 March 2012 Students stand up to schoolyard bullies

Primary school students are being empowered with the skills to combat bullies through a new program launched by Interrelate Family Centres today.

Supported by $54,718 from Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation (Charitable Foundation) - the new Bullying Awareness Program targets students in years 3 to 6 and raises awareness of bullying behaviours including cyber-bullying.

Charitable Foundation Chairman Michael Slater said school bullying is a significant community issue and the program from Interrelate Family Centres helps students to combat bullies using age appropriate strategies.

"In recent years there has been a lot of publicity about bullying in schools and while there has been some progress, more needs to be done. This program will continue the campaign to stamp-out bullying in schools," Mr Slater said.

"The Bullying Awareness Program teaches students to identify the different forms of bullying and how to develop strategies for dealing with bullying situations. By understanding these strategies students can also support other students who may have been bullied.

"The Bullying Awareness Program engages students through different teaching methods including role plays, games, worksheets and open discussions. Teachers are also given exercises to continue after the program is finished and students are encouraged to discuss bullying with their parents," Mr Slater said.

So far 20 primary schools throughout Newcastle, the Hunter and the Central Coast have volunteered to participate in the program.

An Australian Institute of Health and Welfare study, Young Australians: Health and Wellbeing 2011, found “young people who are bullied are more likely to experience higher levels of school absenteeism, physical harm, anxiety, depression, risk of suicide and alcohol and substance abuse.”

Interrelate Family Centres Director Dr Jonathan Toussaint said focusing on bullying in primary school can help to alleviate some of these risks.

"The Bullying Awareness Program focuses on ways students can contribute to a bully free school environment, including how to handle cyber-bullying which we see increasing in our schools," Dr Toussaint said.

"The program has been recently piloted in three schools in NSW and the feedback from both students and teachers has been extremely positive.

"The program is designed to teach respect for individual differences and diversity within schools and is expected to reach approximately 1,800 local students," Dr Toussaint said.

Local charity and not-for-profit organisations are invited to apply for the next Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation funding round, which closes on 5 April 2012.

The Charitable Foundation distributes more than $1.5 million annually to local not-for-profit organisations in the Hunter, New England, Central Coast, Northern Rivers and Mid North Coast. Since 2004 the Charitable Foundation has provided more than $7.3 million to 210 organisations.

To make an application for a grant or to obtain further information, go to www.newcastlepermanent.com.au, phone 13 19 87, or visit a Newcastle Permanent branch

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21 March 2012 New support for Central Coast children with cerebral palsy

Children with cerebral palsy are celebrating better access to therapy and specialist equipment thanks to a $54,084 grant from Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation (Charitable Foundation).

The grant has made it possible for Cerebral Palsy Alliance to purchase the resources and equipment to fit out its new Tuggerah centre, which is its first permanent base on the Central Coast.

The fit out includes two therapy rooms, a children’s outdoor play/therapy area and a technology workshop.

Charitable Foundation Chairman Michael Slater said the fit out of the new centre would allow Cerebral Palsy Alliance to provide a wide range of therapy and services for Central Coast children with cerebral palsy, as well as support groups for their parents and additional staff training opportunities.

"The new Tuggerah centre provides services to around 200 children and adults with disabilities and their families," Mr Slater said.

"The new outdoor play and therapy area and equipment will allow therapists to include outdoor play activities when designing therapy programs for local children.

“This now means children are able to have fun and enhance their well-being while also achieving their therapy outcomes."

The grant from the Charitable Foundation also included provision of a technology workshop, which is a specialist service for people with complex technology, seating and mobility needs.

"The new technology workshop means children and adults with complex needs will no longer have to travel to Sydney for prescription and trial of individualised equipment. This will be life-changing for many Central Coast families," Mr Slater said.

CEO of Cerebral Palsy Alliance Rob White said the Charitable Foundation grant enabled the new Tuggerah Centre to be fitted out to meet the ongoing needs of Central Coast families.

"Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation has made it possible for us to purchase the resources and equipment to fit out our first permanent base for people with cerebral palsy on the Central Coast," Mr White said.

"Our Tuggerah site is now the base for 14 permanent staff including 10 therapists, an early educator and three family support workers. It also provides working spaces for travelling consultants and technicians who assist with provision of specialised equipment."

Local charity and not-for-profit organisations are invited to apply for the next Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation funding round, which closes on 5 April 2012.

To make an application for a grant or to obtain further information, go to www.newcastlepermanent.com.au, phone 13 19 87, or visit a Newcastle Permanent branch.

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19 March 2012 Boost for People with Disabilities

Financial relief has come to families with disabled children through a $38,114 grant from Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation (Charitable Foundation).

The grant has allowed TAD Disability Services Hunter Branch (TADHUNTER) to purchase a van and send therapists and equipment to regional areas to assess clients’ specific needs and provide expert advice.

Charitable Foundation Chairman Michael Slater said the grant has allowed TADHUNTER to expand their operations and take mounting pressure off families and volunteers.

"Part of our funding has gone towards supporting families who need financial assistance to purchase custom designed equipment. This includes equipment to assist young children with disabilities to facilitate education, recreation, daily living and personal care," Mr Slater said.

"This Charitable Foundation grant will ease the financial burden on 25 disadvantaged families from around the region by providing their children with vital equipment to improve their mobility and independence.

"In addition funding for the new van means volunteers and therapists will not have to rely on personal vehicles to make assessments across Newcastle and the Hunter Valley. This significantly reduces costs for TADHUNTER and allows them to focus on providing aids and therapists for the disabled and aged," Mr Slater said.

TADHUNTER Project Coordinator Geoff Winsley said the continued funding from the Charitable Foundation has allowed the organisation to expand its operations throughout the Hunter.

"We are seeing an increased need for equipment in regional areas across the Hunter. Some areas do not have local therapists which puts emotional and financial pressure on clients who have to travel to Newcastle for adaptive technologies," Mr Winsely said.

"The Charitable Foundation grant has helped us to relieve this pressure on clients by taking therapists and equipment to their home.

"We are extremely grateful for the continued support of the Charitable Foundation in assisting the disabled and aged across the region," Mr Winsely said.

The Charitable Foundation has previously supported TADHUNTER with $26,000 for its 'Riding in the Park' and ‘Creating Hope’ programs.

Local charity and not-for-profit organisations are invited to apply for the next Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation funding round, which closes on 5 April 2012.

The Charitable Foundation distributes more than $1.5 million annually to local not-for-profit organizations in the Hunter, New England, Central Coast, Northern Rivers and Mid North Coast. Since 2004 it has provided more than $7.3 million to 210 organisations.

To make an application for a grant or to obtain further information, go to www.newcastlepermanent.com.au, phone 13 19 87, or visit a Newcastle Permanent branch.

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19 March 2012 Newcastle Permanent named Building Society of the Year for Customer Satisfaction

Roy Morgan Research has named Newcastle Permanent as the Building Society of the Year in its inaugural Customer Satisfaction Awards.

The award follows Newcastle Permanent being recognised by Roy Morgan as having the highest proportion of satisfied customers (93.8%) of all financial institutions in Australia in the December 2011 Monthly Customer Satisfaction Survey.

Roy Morgan Research CEO Michele Levine congratulated Newcastle Permanent on its award winning achievement.

"Customer Satisfaction is more vital than ever in today's age of social media, where the slightest negative customer interaction can literally be broadcast to thousands, virtually instantly. The Roy Morgan Customer Satisfaction Awards have been presented to those businesses in Australia who are leading their individual fields when it comes to satisfying their customers," Ms Levine said.

Newcastle Permanent CEO, Terry Millett, said Roy Morgan regularly conducts independent assessment of the customer satisfaction levels of all financial institutions.

"We are delighted to be recognised by Roy Morgan Research as Building Society of the Year for 2011. This is a very pleasing result and testament to the work of all our staff who either directly or indirectly support our members every day," Mr Millett said.

"Winning this award is another example of how our mutual business model can achieve sustainable economic success without the adverse consequences that an excessive focus on profits and shareholder returns can produce – which is a key difference between us and the share market-listed banks."

Newcastle Permanent is the most awarded Building Society in Australia and the largest in terms of net assets.*

*net assets under management as at 30/06/2011

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1 March 2012 Young people at risk take the controls

The responsibility and challenge of flying a small plane is being used to help 'at risk' local teenagers improve confidence and develop new life skills.

Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation has provided LIFT Youth Development Inc. (LIFT) with a $20,664 grant to expand this unique program.

LIFT use aviation-based programs to teach key life skills to youths who are at risk of not finishing their education and becoming unemployed, or entering the juvenile justice system.

Charitable Foundation Chairman Michael Slater said the grant would enable LIFT to reach an additional 46 young local people and 18 mentors and teachers in 2012.

"By creating a highly stimulatory environment, the team at LIFT have been able to help teenagers who suffer from trust and confidence issues to learn basic life skills," Mr Slater said.

"The feedback from organisations like DALE Christian School, the Bridge House Oasis Youth Support Network Hunter and Juvenile Justice which have used the program has been extremely positive.

"LIFT is a fantastic organisation that is working with other Hunter organisations to help ‘at risk’ youth transform their lives and the Charitable Foundation is delighted to be able to support its ongoing success," Mr Slater said.

The LIFT program operates on the basis of a ‘whole of life learning’ approach by taking participants out of their comfort zone, teaching them the difference between taking good and bad risks and providing them with the skills to make improved choices in the future.

LIFT Founder and instructor Paul Simmons said that given the right training and environment every young person could make positive life choices that lead to a productive future.

"I have served as a RAAF fighter pilot for 23 years which is considered a ‘risky’ occupation. The reality is that we all take risks in our lives. Learning the difference between good and bad risks will lead to sound decision-making and improve participants chances of finishing their education and getting employment," Mr Simmons said.

"Aviation is a great teacher of decision making and risk taking and LIFT aims to use that unique perspective to engage with ‘at risk’ youth.

"All of the programs at LIFT work with mentors from support agencies with the mentors accompanying the youth participants on the program. This aids in building enhanced relationships and improving longer-term outcomes.

"We are grateful for the support of the Charitable Foundation to be able to expand our programs through 2012," Mr Simmons said.

LIFT was established in 2007 and is the only organisation in the Hunter using aviation in various innovative educational and diversionary rehabilitation programs.

Local charity and not-for-profit organisations are invited to apply for the next Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation funding round, which closes on 5 April 2012.

To make an application for a grant or to obtain further information, go to www.newcastlepermanent.com.au, phone 13 19 87, or visit a Newcastle Permanent branch.

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22 February 2012 Newcastle Permanent shows why it is 'Here for good'

Newcastle Permanent Building Society unveiled its new ground-breaking two-minute television commercial today to media and special guests.

Newcastle Permanent CEO Terry Millett said the new campaign was the result of a rigorous development process that included extensive staff and community research and reinforces the Building Society's position as the Hunter's Number 1 place for banking – one that has a rich heritage and an even stronger future. 

"When it comes to banking, people told us that they want to know their financial institution will do the right thing by them especially over the long term.

In this next phase of our advertising we felt it was important to tell our story: who we are and what makes us different - so that people can buy into what we stand for rather than just what we sell. That we put people before profits," Mr Millett said.

"In our new campaign we have used the best production techniques and equipment available anywhere in Australia and it was made right here in the Hunter. And the local 'stars' of the campaign are the good people of Newcastle and the Hunter, our staff and their families.

"You don't have to go to Sydney or elsewhere to get exceptional quality. The best of everything is right here in our own backyard.

"At Newcastle Permanent we also strive to be the best at what we do. We have been judged Home Lender of the Year again for the second time in three years1 – ahead of all the major bank.  And Newcastle Permanent recently recorded the highest proportion of satisfied customers of any financial institution in Australia, including all the banks2," Mr Millett said.

The focus of the new corporate campaign is the flagship two-minute television commercial, which is specially tailored for each region in NSW where Newcastle Permanent operates.

"Television commercials are usually 30 seconds long. Newcastle Permanent has been operating for nearly 110 years and we felt it was important to take the time to tell our story properly in this new campaign.

"We have also launched a new theme song which is a contemporary take on the previous 'Here for good' jingle," Mr Millett said.

The new two-minute television commercial will launch on Monday 27 February as part of a fully integrated campaign including television, radio, press, outdoor and on-line elements, with a series of follow-up television commercials in coming months.

1. Financial Review Smart Investor Magazine Blue Ribbon Awards 2011
2. Roy Morgan Research Customer Satisfaction Survey December 2011

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15 February 2012 Newcastle Permanent announces interest rate changes

Newcastle Permanent Building Society has announced an increase in its variable home loan interest rate of 0.09%.

The new variable interest rate will be effective 20 February with new repayments taking effect from April. This change will mean an increase of approximately $6 per month per $100,000 of a loan taken over 25 years. It follows a 0.50% reduction in the variable home loan rate through cuts in November and December last year, or a reduction of $32 per month per $100,000.

Newcastle Permanent's variable home loan rates remain significantly lower than those of the four major banks. For example, the table below summarises a comparison of the basic variable home loan rates of the major banks (inclusive of the increases recently announced) versus Newcastle Permanent:

NAME BASIC VARIABLE RATE
(per annum)
VARIANCE COMPARED TO NEWCASTLE PERMANENT
Newcastle Permanent 6.56%  
CBA 6.90% +0.34%
Westpac 6.76% +0.20%
ANZ 6.66% +0.10%
NAB 6.81% +0.25%

Newcastle Permanent CEO Terry Millett said the decision to raise interest rates was one that was thoroughly considered and a key factor was ensuring we maintain consistent competitiveness across our deposit and lending product range.

"With the major banks increasing their home loan interest rates by up to 0.10% there is a flow-on effect to the customer deposit rates they offer and it is extremely important that Newcastle Permanent remains highly competitive across both our deposit and lending products," Mr Millett said.

"Almost 80% of our home loan funding is sourced from our members' retail deposits. The major banks have driven up the costs of retail deposit funding via intense price competition in deposit rates, and this increases the cost of the money that we use to fund our home loans.

"After this home loan interest rate change Newcastle Permanent's multi award winning and highly popular Real Deal home loan will be just 6.56% p.a. which is a lower interest rate than the equivalent products offered by the major banks.

"Also our fixed interest rate home loans are extremely competitive with rates starting from just 5.79% per annum.

"We understand that some of our members with variable rate home loans will be disappointed with the decision we have taken, however we must act in the best interests of all our 325,000 members. We need to act prudently to ensure our home loan interest rates are not excessively competitive to the extent that they are in effect "subsidised" by our deposit members, which means taking the measures we have today.

"Newcastle Permanent is committed to being the Hunter's No. 1 home lender and provider of retail banking services as such will continue to offer highly competitive home loan and deposit products to our new and existing members," Mr Millett said.

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24 January 2012 Newcastle Permanent protecting local jobs

Newcastle Permanent Building Society has condemned media reports that the big banks are set to sack up to 7,000 workers.

ANZ and Westpac have confirmed jobs will be cut this year, ANZ already sacking 130 employees. Market analysts have speculated NAB and Commonwealth Bank will also shed large numbers of staff this year.

Newcastle Permanent Building Society CEO Terry Millett said they have no intention to force significant staff cuts like those being undertaken by the major banks.

"The major banks need to satisfy their shareholders and institutional investors and unfortunately that means many working families’ lives are interrupted in the name of a short term profit outcome," Mr Millett said.

"As a mutual organisation we don’t have shareholders. We are owned by our members and are focused on delivering the best outcomes to our members and our staff. We do not believe it is commercially sensible nor appropriate to force reductions in staff numbers in an attempt to reduce costs in the short term.

"Our mutual model proves once again how you can achieve sustainable economic success without the adverse consequences that an excessive focus on profits and shareholder returns can produce. Our philosophy is to nurture the long-term health of the communities in which we operate – which is a key difference between us and the share market-listed banks”.

"While the major banks rely on wholesale funding to address their lending needs Newcastle Permanent's large and loyal member base means we generate the majority of our funding via our members' deposits.

"The weakening economic conditions are challenging for all financial institutions, however Newcastle Permanent is well placed to manage these events. And combined with our focus on organisational efficiency our emphasis remains on our relationships with our members, our people and our support for the communities in which we operate,” Mr Millett said.

Newcastle Permanent employs more than 900 people across northern NSW.

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25 January 2012 Newcastle Permanent is Australian market leader for customer satisfaction

Newcastle Permanent Building Society has the highest proportion of satisfied customers (93.8%) of all the financial institutions in Australia according to the most recent Roy Morgan customer satisfaction survey results (December 2011).

Newcastle Permanent CEO Terry Millett said leading Australian research company Roy Morgan regularly conducts independent assessment of the customer satisfaction level of all financial institutions.

"Newcastle Permanent was a clear leader in customer satisfaction when compared to the banks and was also the standout performer when compared to other mutual organisations including mutual banks, credit unions and building societies in the most recent survey results," Mr Millett said.

"This is a very pleasing result and reflects highly on the work of all our staff who deal with our members on a daily basis.

'Our staff pride themselves on helping members with their banking needs, and we recognise the importance of having high quality staff which is why we will not follow the recent decision of some major banks in slashing jobs for the sake of short term profit performance and pleasing shareholders.

'The strength of our customer satisfaction rating against the major banks is another example of how our mutual business model can achieve sustainable economic success without the adverse consequences that an excessive focus on profits and shareholder returns can produce – which is a key difference between us and the share market-listed banks.' Mr Millett said.

The Roy Morgan survey rates the percentage of a financial institution’s customers 14+ who are satisfied. The average total for Banks was 79.3%, Credit Unions 88.7%, Building Societies 90.0% - Newcastle Permanent’s rating was 93.8%.

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