50,000 plus savers for the future
“I often have customers who recommend Saver Plus to their children, family and friends who are eligible. It is very rewarding when they thank me for introducing them to this wonderful program. It brings a smile to my face.” Marcus Menzies, ANZ Personal Banker, Fountain Gate.
Earlier this year Saver Plus, the world’s largest and longest running matched savings and financial education program developed by Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) and ANZ reached its 50,000 participant milestone.
Since 2003, the program which started with just 50 participants has enabled more than 50,000 lower income Australians to save more than $26 million for education costs, with ANZ providing matching of $21 million.
Source: 2018 Saver Plus: Pathways to Wellbeing Report
Melinda Moore Acting Director Community Programs at BSL says the Saver Plus program has a lasting and sometimes life changing impact on participants.
“Research shows many participants go on to establish a lasting savings habit that sees them achieve their financial goals and improve their financial wellbeing,” she says.
Single mum program participant Jill from Pascoe Vale in Victoria says she began the program to help save for her own home.
"I lost my job unfortunately due to COVID-19. As a single mum of two, I was sort of living week to week,” Jill says.
“Saver Plus helped me improve my financial health and I feel empowered because now I know exactly what to do if a financial challenge comes up,” she says. “I've also started encouraging my daughters to save in a money box so they can see the money accumulate and learn the value of money. Even though I lost my job, I managed to save a substantial amount of money and my long-term goal is to buy my own house."
Many participants like Jill have gone on to achieve bigger goals over time. Before the program, part-time flight attendant Lisa* was conservative with her money, but she didn't have a savings account. "I've always been pretty savvy with money, however the matched savings was the deciding factor for me to join, it was a huge amount," she admits.
Saver Plus gave Lisa a savings goal to work towards with a weekly amount that worked within her budget. As her savings grew over the years, she felt a real sense of pride and accomplishment.
When Lisa's daughter started to do really well in school, her motivation to save for her university costs kicked into high gear and she increased her weekly savings amount from $15 to $50 a week, an amount she thought was not possible on a minimal wage.
Over time Lisa saved more than $11K and surprised her daughter with the savings as a gift to help pay for her uni costs. "I'm so proud to be able to provide this for her,” she says. “I never had that sort of thing."
Michelle Commandeur, Head of Financial Inclusion and Community Engagement says it’s pleasing to see the program continue to deliver long term outcomes for participants even after 18 years.
“Partnership is key to the success of Saver Plus, we’re grateful to be working with our community partners such as the Brotherhood of St Laurence, Berry Street and The Smith Family on this program. I’d also like to thank and acknowledge the Australian Government for their role in our cross-sector partnership – providing funding to the Brotherhood of St Laurence and other community organisations to enable Saver Plus to be delivered in communities across Australia,” Michelle says.
ANZ Branches play a significant role in the delivery of Saver Plus.
Branch staff refer participants to the program, help open a free bank account for the participants to deposit their regular savings into, and co-facilitate MoneyMinded financial education workshops with Saver Plus Coordinators. Since 2015, ANZ Branches have referred over 3,800 participants to the program.
Personal banker Marcus Menzies has been with ANZ for 14 years and has been championing Saver Plus within his community of Casey and Cardinia in Victoria since 2010. He has referred more than 150 participants to the program.
Marcus takes pride in supporting his customers and the community and has seen firsthand how the program has helped his customers improve their financial wellbeing.
He has also learned the importance of financial education and has improved his own knowledge of savings, budgeting, and other aspects of financial management.
When asked what he finds most rewarding, he says “I often have customers who recommend Saver Plus to their children, family and friends who are eligible. It is very rewarding when they thank me for introducing them to this wonderful program. It brings a smile to my face.”
Community & Purpose
Reducing barriers to remote learning