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Directors' Column

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Various economic outlooks for the nation abound at this time of year. A range of indicators are taken into account - expected population growth, unemployment, inflation and interest rates, market trends, government debt to GDP and world events - amongst a host of other indicators. These forecasts tip whether we’ll be better or worse off, as a country and as individuals and families. In a nutshell, this year there is cautious optimism - although some areas of the economy are of concern, most are generally steady or gradually improving.

Some interesting statistics: Australia’s population is expected to increase from 24 million (early in 2017) towards 26 million by 2020. The average retirement age for both men and women is expected to crawl up from 65 to 66 years. Interest rates are low but expected to rise - although not as quickly as in the past - as is business confidence. Household savings are predicted to decrease, while house prices remain high, which is a risk.

From an educator’s perspective, it is always disappointing to see high youth unemployment rates which are not expected to move below 12-13% over the period, although youth unemployment is even higher in some regions. Unfortunately, Australia falls short of average investment in skills according to the OECD.

We keep a sharp eye on big picture trends and developments to see what they mean for our Members’ lives and your Mutual Bank. These factors influence strategic planning, day-to-day decision-making and are continually monitored. The aim is to maintain and build the strength of the Mutual Bank - which is owned by all Members - to ensure the best outcomes for everyone. Your Mutual Bank is cautious, focused and meticulous, which has ensured its success for over 40 years. This is something that will not change in 2017.

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