Billabong Retreat is the latest values based business making the switch to Australia’s first customer owned responsible bank.
Retreat owner Paul von Bergen, said switching to Bank Australia has been a major part of its ethical journey.
Billabong Retreat is a fully certified eco-retreat located on 12 acres of natural bush surrounding two billabongs, just fifty five minutes from Sydney.
The retreat has grown significantly since it was established eight years ago and last year embarked on a major expansion, creating the need to refinance.
“We initially went to our default bank without really thinking about it. And then one night I realised, I’ve spent seven years working tirelessly to build a business that promotes sustainability and ethical values and I’m just about to borrow a significant amount of money which will generate a large amount of interest, going straight to the banks’ profits,” Mr von Bergen said.
“After investigation with my existing bank, we realised for us to stay would have negated all the energy we’ve put into building the foundation for the business.”
“I didn’t know what was out there so I simply searched for ethical banks in Australia, which led me to Bank Australia.”
The Bank Australia commercial lending team worked closely with Billabong Retreat to tailor a competitive loan that met the needs of the growing business.
“I was expecting to pay a little more for an ethical option, after all, cheapest is not always best so I was amazed when Bank Australia actually beat the rate my big four bank was offering - with a cheaper rate and an ethical stance it really was a no brainer. I just can't believe I didn't do it before.”
“We want more people to realise who you bank with is probably the single biggest ethical decision you can make.”
“We’re a fully certified eco-retreat so take our impact on the environment very seriously. We’re self-sufficient for water and waste disposal and operate a bio-pod worm farm waste water system.
“Being eco-friendly was a non-negotiable rather than a visionary part of what we created. There was no other way to do it. Once you start connecting to nature you become more aware of your actions and the impact they have,” Mr von Bergen said.
Billabong Retreat’s Eco Credentials:
• Built using plantation pine and minimal concrete
• Photovoltaic grid connected solar power
• 100% renewable power
• Biolytix worm bio-filter on-site effluent treatment plant
• Rain water harvested from roofs
• Low flow rated toilets, showers
• Solar heated hot water
• Locally sourced food
• No packaged drinks
As a customer owned bank, Bank Australia invests customers’ money with other customers looking to borrow like Billabong Retreat. It’s one way we put your money to work to create mutual prosperity – for people, the communities they live in and the planet.
About our commercial lending practice:
We offer commercial loans for property and business for individual, business and corporate customers. We take a consultative and flexible approach. We don’t dictate terms, but rather respond to the needs of each customer when we design products for them. Our credit policies are broad so exclusions are limited and we'll offer indicative terms on the spot.
If you want to switch your commercial loan to a responsible bank that’s sharp on price and puts service first call Bank Australia on 132 888.