The Co-operative Bank introduces Jeff the snake

First there was a snappy saltwater crocodile named Brian and now The Co-operative Bank has unleashed another wild animal through Y&R, Jeff the snake in its latest TVC as part of a running campaign ‘It’s in their nature’ which urges people to make the switch to its service.

The TVC follows on with the same message from the previous ad, emphasising how we shouldn’t “ … be surprised when your bank acts like a bank” because “They’re designed for one thing, making profit from you”. The Co-operative Bank has made the analogy through the use of wild animals who act wild simply because it’s ‘In their nature’.

Both Kiwibank and TSB have played the local ownership card in an effort to gain customers, but former Co-operative Bank general manager Sadhana Raman told StopPress earlier its main strategy was to focus on the fact that its customers got a share of its profits.

Director of marketing Grant Jennings told StopPress the bank was trying to challenge consumers as to why they would be surprised banks act the way that they do. “We are obviously quite different and as a consequence behave a different way and we are attempting to challenge people to overcome that apathy of changing banks for the better.”

The Co-operative Bank (formerly PSIS), says the switch can be done easily through its mobile app.

Jennings says the board ultimately decide on the rebate and then depending on the customer engagement with the bank determine s the size of the annual rebate.

He says the bank is approaching the 150,000 customer mark. “We’ve seen good growth in the customer base since obtaining the full banking licence and having a business that is built on [sharing profits]has given us a strong point of difference in the market.”

Jennings wouldn’t put an exact number on it when asked, but he says thousands of people have switched to the bank and many of those have been through the app.

Y&R Wellington managing director Tim Ellis says the inspiration of the TVC was formed by the nature of banks in general. “Most banks are designed to take profits from their customers to fund their big shareholders. That’s the way they’ve been set-up, it’s what they’ve done forever, it’s in their nature,” he says.

“A bit like it’s in the nature of a giant man-eating animal to take a little too much too. The Co-operative Bank is a different kind of bank though. Because they are 100 percent customer owned, the only people they are in it for are their customers.”

He says the campaign kicks off with support through The Co-operative Bank’s owned channels “Branch, digital, mobile and social. But watch this space because it’s just the start.”

According to the Herald in May the bank posted a 24 percent lift in annual profit, while also boosting its rebate to customers.

The bank’s chief executive Bruce McLachlan told the Herald it had increased overall profits by 59 percent and added 35,000 new customers since becoming a registered bank in October in 2011.

Net profit of the bank rose to $8.9 million in the 12 months to 31 March from $7.1 million a year earlier.

The bank increased its client rebate by 38.5 percent to $1.8 million according to the Herald. “Profit before rebates and tax rose 30.9 percent to $13.4 million, while net operating income increased 8.4 percent to $66.2 million and deposits jumped 12.1 percent to $1.6 billion.”

The bank’s loan book increased by 10.9 percent to $1.6 billion while bad debts fell 31.7 percent to $1 million.

The Herald reported the bank said its capital and liquidity ratios of 16.5 percent remained the highest of any New Zealand bank.

The bank opened up a branch on Auckland’s Queen Street last November and has signaled plans to launch up to six more in the city.

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