Banking on commitment: Anthony De Fazio

Banking on commitment: Anthony De Fazio

A small Victorian police bank is giving the ‘Big Four’ Australian banks a run for their money on year-on-year growth. CEO Anthony De Fazio says BankVic’s secret to success lies in reconnecting with its community. As we sit in the comfort of our homes, we may not give much thought to the people who work tirelessly behind the scenes to keep our community safe. Not so for the BankVic team, which makes it its mission to look after Victoria’s police, emergency service and health workers. When The CEO Magazine spoke to BankVic CEO Anthony De Fazio in 2019, he’d only been in the role for a year and his focus was squarely on putting BankVic’s members at the forefront of its strategy. Founded as the Police Association Credit Co-Operative in 1974 to give Victoria Police and their families financial security, the mutual bank was renamed BankVic in 2013, which affected its grassroots connection with the police community. “We walked away from police for a while,” De Fazio explains. “What we’ve done over the last four years is reinforce that, no matter what we’re called, we lead with our purpose. And that is being the bank for police.”


In the past four years, BankVic has grown from US$1.32 billion to US$1.95 billion in size, De Fazio says. “We’ve grown by 50 percent in the last four years and doubled in size in the last seven years,” he explains. “Our growth is twice the rate of the Australian banking industry and twice the average rate of the police banking sector.” So how did the company pull it off in the midst of a pandemic and economic upheaval? “The focus on our members has resulted in this exponential growth,” he explains. “Community engagement is a key aspect of BankVic’s values. It’s all about making banking with us easier for our members.” To streamline its member experience, BankVic invested heavily in digital transformation, including automating its loan origination process and launching a new app. “We’re also expanding into brokers,” De Fazio says. “Seventy percent of Australians prefer to use brokers, and if our police members are just like the public, give or take, then we should be offering that service. Our brokers’ mandate is to talk to our police, our ambos, our health workers and our first responders.”


Beyond financial growth, BankVic is deeply committed to contributing to the greater good. It became one of the first mutual banks to receive B Corp certification in 2019 and has been recognized as one of Australia’s Best Workplaces to Give Back three years running. “We have very long-term and incredibly strong relationships with our foundation partners, the Police Association Victoria and Victoria Police Legacy, a charitable organization that supports police families who have lost a loved one,” De Fazio explains. “The people that founded BankVic also founded Victoria Police Legacy, so we’ve got the same DNA. We’re all about helping people.” “Community engagement is a key aspect of BankVic’s values.” BankVic also sponsors the Angela Taylor Memorial Run/Walk with Victoria Police Blue Ribbon Foundation and backs the Victorian contingent during The Wall to Wall Remembrance Ride supporting Victoria Police Legacy. “That’s where motorcycle riders from every state jurisdiction start off in their state and meet in Canberra – it’s very moving,” he says. “We’re also very proud of our partnership with Crime Stoppers Victoria, which includes an online safety series and podcast series.” BankVic has funded more than 40 scholarships, grants and awards with its healthcare foundation partners to support the professional development of future leaders in the healthcare industry and fund important research. “We’ve supported the Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Nursing Development Scholarship with the Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation, which in 2022 was awarded to a clinical nurse who was working on an improved model of treatment for children requiring intravenous access,” De Fazio notes. “We’ve also partnered with Blue Ribbon to provide Eastern Health with a world-class ECMO machine that’s helping save lives.”


That isn’t a shabby list of accomplishments for a mutual bank with fewer than 180 employees. De Fazio credits BankVic’s commitment to its core values – together, honest and brave – for creating a tight-knit team that bands together to get the job done. “We’re all in this together,” he says. “BankVic is people-focused, humble, transparent and authentic.” And that sense of connectedness extends beyond BankVic’s walls into the first responder community it so passionately serves. “We don’t really see ourselves as bankers. We see ourselves as an extension of the first responder community.” “We don’t really see ourselves as bankers. We see ourselves as an extension of the first responder community and they welcome us with open arms. Our relationship with the police association is huge. They support us, and we go out of our way to support them in return,” De Fazio reveals. “If a member in a remote community can’t get to a branch, we’ll send someone to their home to help them with their banking. We also go out of our way to fix mistakes. I’ll pick up the phone and call a member myself to apologize and make them feel valued. “That’s all they want. They want to be heard.”

Fast Facts

  • BankVic has more than 120,000 members using its banking, home loan and insurance services.
  • Formerly known as Police Association Credit Co-Operative, BankVic is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2024.
  • While it originally only served members of the Victoria Police, the bank opened its services to Victoria’s firefighters in 1979 and to the emergency services sector (including ambulance workers, health workers and the public sector) in 1992.


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