Name: Greg Camm
Position: Director and Chair of Risk Committee
Years on the Board: 8 years
What city do you live in? Melbourne
Why did you join Bank Australia?
I was a volunteer teller at Bentmore Credit Union when I was at Uni before I started my working career as a management trainee at Telecom Employees Credit Union. I later kept up my involvement in the credit union sector as a director and ultimately Chair of Waverley Credit Union.
After 40 years working in financial services (mostly mortgage finance and retail banking), I jumped at the chance to book-end my career by returning to my roots in the customer owned banking sector.
What do you feel are the most essential qualities for being a Bank Australia director?
Diligence is really important, it’s too easy to “sleepwalk” into trouble. But diligence doesn’t mean interfering in management. “Keep your nose in but your fingers out” is an excellent maxim to live by on a board.
Having said that, it’s important to have the courage to ask the hard question or offer a potentially unpopular opinion, if it’s something that matters, keeping perspective and ensuring you don’t “major in the minors”.
Finally and critically, you must be pro-customer to serve on the Bank Australia board!
What's one thing you expect to see change in banking over the next 5 years?
Whilst we’ve see a pretty strong trend towards online banking over recent years, I think the COVID-19 experience will accelerate that trend.
Just look at the boom in online shopping since the pandemic arrived. I expect banking will see the same change. And I expect it will be smartphones leading the charge, rather than keyboard machines.
Regrettably, one by-product of this trend is a surge in cyber crime, which will continue forever. Why permanent? It is best illustrated by quoting the infamous American bank robber, Willie Sutton, who was asked why he robbed banks. His reply was “Well that’s where the money is”. The money today is in cyberspace. And this cyber crime is not solved by IT solutions. Most of it can be prevented by vigilant staff and customers. We have a big and ongoing task in warning and educating customers about these threats.
What previous job really defined your career and why?
I’ve got a double answer to this question. I’ve been lucky to have had three amazing bosses over the years who, by example, taught me what good leadership looks like and a few who showed me the opposite!
I’d like to think I’ve tried to emulate the good ones and avoid the behaviours of the others! The job that taught me the most was being CEO of ANZ Bank in New Zealand.
Sitting at the top of a large organisation, you get a view of how the whole organisation works, in a way you don’t get running a large division of a company.
You also learn that CEOs are not, contrary to what you read in the newspapers, all powerful. It’s surprising to discover how little you can really influence.
What’s something you do in your life to help protect the planet or support your community?
I’ve served on the Australian Cancer Research Foundation board for almost 20 years and I love it. The advances made against cancer over the past couple of decades are amazing. Some cancers that were potential death sentences are now often just curable illnesses.
Australia punches well above its weight in cancer research, and we should all be so proud of, and support, our research community who are the unsung heroes of modern medicine.
What’s one way you believe the COVID-19 pandemic will change to the way people will live in future?
I think we’ll see a permanent change in personal hygiene practices. Hand washing and cough/sneezing habits will change forever.
What’s a book, film or TV show from the last 12 months you loved, and why?
The TV series “Billions”. It’s all about greed, corruption and excess in financial markets.
I enjoyed it because it enabled me to explain to family members how these markets work. Questions like “what is short selling?”, “what do hedge funds do?” “what is arbitrage?” could all be answered by pointing to things happening on the TV. It was fun being able to explain some of the dark arts of finance!
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