House debates

Wednesday, 21 June 2023

Constituency Statements

Seccombe, Mr Geoff

9:39 am

Photo of Meryl SwansonMeryl Swanson (Paterson, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise today to pay tribute and give thanks for the career of a great man in our Hunter region: a person I consider a friend, a mentor and a true pillar of the Maitland and, more broadly, Hunter region. Mr Geoff Seccombe is the outgoing chief executive officer of the Mutual Bank, a member-owned bank that has been around for 134 years.

Geoff is only the seventh CEO in its history.

Late last year, Geoff announced his well-deserved retirement after 34 years service at the Mutual. He has truly dedicated his life to the finance industry and the people who not only make it up but benefit from it. His remarkable tenure is undoubtedly a record, a testament to his unwavering commitment and exemplary leadership.

Geoff's journey with the Mutual began in 1989, when he joined the then Maitland Mutual Building Society, as we then affectionately knew it, as one of only nine employees. His career path in the Mutual took shape and he rose through the ranks, ultimately assuming the role of CEO in 1994. Geoff's deep understanding of the banking industry, honed by his training at the Commercial Banking Company of Sydney, now known as the NAB, has been instrumental in driving the bank's success.

When a young Geoff started in the bank as a junior employee, the loan book was valued at around $20 million. As he collects his hat, coat and brief case to say goodbye and go and work on the farm a little bit more, he's leaving the bank with assets surpassing the $1 billion mark as of last year. That is a true feat.

Throughout his tenure, Geoff has successfully adhered to the member-first ethos that defines The Mutual Bank. He has guided the institution to stay true to the core market in New South Wales Hunter Valley, serving our community with unwavering dedication. Geoff has many great philosophies for life, work and investment, but among them is a deeply ingrained view that you should continually re-invest in your people and your community. Under his leadership, the Mutual now supports more than 50 local charitable, sporting and cultural organisations across our community through their sponsorship programs.

The bank's financial results for the year ending June 2022 are a testament to Geoff's strategic acumen, although he wouldn't like me to give him all the credit because he always says, 'Meryl, it takes a village to run a bank.' With a sharp reduction in interest expenses, net interest income and the bottom line has witnessed a substantial boost. They're now a BBB with a positive outlook. Geoff, you and Marilyn deserve to have the most magnificent time on that beautiful lucerne farm time with those cattle. Happy retirement, and thank you, mate.