Like many mutual organisations in Australia today, Big Sky is a composite of several former Credit Unions and Building Societies originally created to serve specific employers. Having started life as the BHP Employee’s Credit Co-operative some 40 years ago, we have over the years welcomed members of the Lysaght, BP and GMH Employee’s Credit Co-Operatives and the RACV Credit Union.
Recently LifePlan Australia Building Society, a subsidiary of Australian Unity Limited, integrated with Big Sky to commence yet another chapter in our proud 40 year history.
Today Big Sky has a comprehensive and competitive range of products and services spanning banking, advice and insurance with offerings suitable for everyone from school aged children right through to retirees.
A Genuine Alternative
As an organisation that routinely returns profits to our customers through low fees, competitive interest rates and attentive service, Big Sky is a genuine alternative to the big banks.
Like the banks we have a comprehensive range of financial products and services from personal and business banking through to advice and insurance. Like the banks we operate under the same regulations and share the same government guarantees on our savings products. But unlike the banks we are not beholden to shareholders. This difference is critical as we are not conflicted at any point in our dealings with our customers.
We’ve been helping our customers with their banking needs since 1971 and more recently broadened by adding focused financial advice. Today we assist customers right around Australia, including in the mining communities Moranbah, Newman, Hedland and Roxby Downs, and the cities of Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane amongst others.
Our approach is simple; we aim to help our customers meet their financial needs over the course of their entire life, from financial literacy in childhood right through to income maximisation in retirement.
Our customers tell us we’re warm and friendly, knowledgeable and trustworthy, and in many instances that trust now extends over decades and amounts to assisting up to 4 generations of family members.
If you’d like to learn more about Big Sky Building Society or Big Sky Financial Solutions, or indeed tell us your story, get in contact with us on 1300 654 321.
Since starting out as the BHP Employee Co-operative in 1971 we’ve come a very long way. Along the journey we’ve successfully merged with several Credit Unions; (Lysaght, BP, GMH, RACV), opened our doors to the general public and diversified to better meet the ongoing needs of our members. Most recently we’ve integrated with LifePlan Australia Building Society, a wholly owned subsidiary of Australian Unity, (themselves a member owned ‘mutual’ organisation).
As the BHP Employee Credit Co-operative, our Head Office was located at 600 Bourke St in Melbourne and was supported by offices in the company strongholds of Hedland, Newman and Moranbah with Westernport, a former Lysaght CU site. Upon our merger in 2003 with the then BP Credit Union, (est. 1971 also) we increased our Service Centre footprint by two, adding a presence in major refineries in Kwinana (WA) and Bulwer Island (Qld), and our membership by 6000.
When BHP merged with Billiton Ltd in 2000 the then Credit Union also saw the need to make a change. The name Big Sky was chosen to represent our long association with BHP and to the resources industry. At this point our link to the resource industry extended to Hedland and Newman in WA, Moranbah (QLD) and Roxby Downs (SA) and many of the businesses divested by BHP during its restructure. Further mergers with RACV CU (2006) and GMH CU (2009) strengthened our member base and facilitated Service Centres in Elizabeth (SA) and Port Melbourne (VIC).
In 2009 we also took the significant step of creating Big Sky Financial Solutions, a financial planning business jointly owned with Outlook Financial Solutions. 2011 saw further expansion in this area with Brisbane based MeritPlan, a boutique advice business, joining the fold.
In 2012 Big Sky gained 100% ownership of Big Sky Financial Solutions and integrated LifePlan Building Society, an Adelaide based subsidiary of fellow mutual Australian Unity. As a result Big Sky became a wholly owned subsidiary of Australian Unity, whose membership at the time stood at 280,000 Australians.
Our Vision & Values
The staff and management of Big Sky are passionately committed to a set of values which underpin the accepted behaviours at Big Sky.
Teamwork - We strive for relationships, partnerships and alliances that foster valued team outcomes and support a shared vision.
Empowerment - Our people are the interface with our Customers. Engaged and committed staff will be attracted, retained and supported through 'Best Workplace' practices.
Accountability - We hold ourselves and each other accountable to the Customers and Board of Big Sky, for a relationship built on honesty, respect and integrity.
Member Focus - We respect and value the mutuality relationship. We will deliver services and products to enhance the benefits of belonging.
While the vast majority of Big Sky customers are located in Victoria, Western Australia, Queensland and South Australia our customers can be found right throughout Australia, in some of its farthest reaches and its largest cities. Many are drawn from regional and industrial communities. Regional communities include: Hedland (WA), Newman (WA), Moranbah (QLD) and Roxby Downs (SA) where everyone is welcome to join Big Sky. Industrial communities include: BHP Billiton, BP Australia, BlueScope Steel, Onesteel, Elite, Hatch Associates, RACV, GMH and their subsidiaries, affiliated or divested companies.
For all our locations visit Our Service Centre page.
Big Sky staff are it’s biggest asset. With a strong focus on member service, we continue to develop our staff through various training and coaching programs, ensuring that we continue to further develop their skills and aspirations in particular by supporting and coaching all staff both during and post any training undertaken.
The Board and Management are responsible for ensuring Big Sky meets its prudential and statutory requirements and has systems in place to limit risk to prudent levels.
The Board has determined the various risks and established policies and monitoring systems to manage those risks.
Big Sky Board Members:
G J Willcock, B.Comm, FCPA (Chairman)
Board member since January 2006. Chairman of the Board, Chairman of the Executive Committee. Member of the Nominations Committee, Ex-officia member of all Board Committees.
C W Wirth, B.Comm, FCPA
Board Member since 2000. Chairman of the Board June 2001- 2010. Member of the Governance Committee and Member of the Executive Committee.
P A MacCuspie, B.Sc (Hons), FAICD
Former Chairman of BP Credit Union, appointed to the Board in September 2003. Chairman of Big Sky Financial Solutions.
H L Thornton, B.Ec, ACA
Board member since August 1999. Chairperson of the Audit and Risk Committee and Member of the Executive Committee.
Evelyn Harris, B Ec LLB
Appointed to the Board 26th March 2009. Member of the Governance Committee and Audit and Risk Committee.
Diarmuid McAlary B. Bus (Acc), CPA, GAICD
Appointed to the Board 18th May 2011. Member of the Audit & Risk Committee.
Glenn Barnes B Ag Sc (Melb), CPM, FAMI, FAIM, FAICD, SF Fin, FRSA
Chairman of Australian Unity Limited, appointed to the Board in June 2012.
Group Managing Director & CEO of Australian Unity Limited, appointed to the Board in March 2012
Stephen Maitland, OAM, RFD, BEc, MBus, LLM, FCPA, FAICD, FCIS, FAIM, FFin
Board member of Australian Unity Limited, appointed to the Board in March 2012.
David Bryant, GAICD
Chief Executive Officer, Investments at Australian Unity Limited, appointed to the Board in March 2012.
Company Secretary; Kirsten Mander LLM, FAICD, FCIS, FRMIA (appointed March 2012)