Hiver: Australia’s new ethically-focused, digital bank for essential workers


One of Australia’s largest mutual banks, Teachers Mutual Bank, has announced the imminent launch of its new digital banking arm, Hiver.

Hiver, which will come online this Thursday (June 24), is the newest addition to a growing list of digital banks on the market, though in addition to appealing to tech-savvy users Hiver also appears aimed at ethically-conscious banking customers.

The app-based neobank will initially only be available to Teachers Mutual Bank’s core customer base of essential workers, including those in the education, emergency services and health sectors. Though this is expected to expand over time.

The decision by Teachers Mutual Bank to launch its own digital offering is a logical one. At least, based on it’s own research it is, as the mutual found that 37% of essential workers were likely to opt for a digital bank as part of their banking mix in the next few years.

“The introduction of Hiver to the banking landscape represents an exciting development in customer-focused service delivery. As the first digital mutual bank to hit the market, we are combining the best of new banking technology with the financial security of a nine billion dollar balance sheet and a proven, ethical business model,” said Teachers Mutual Bank Limited chief executive, Steve James.

“We are proud to be offering this unique service to some of our most valued community members, essential and frontline workers, backing their savings with our strong capital and liquidity.”

The digital accounts

Aside from the bank itself, Thursday’s rollout will also include the launch of the new Hiver Saver Account and Everyday Account.

The Saver Account will feature a maximum ongoing interest rate of 0.75% for savers who are able to meet the monthly requirements of at least one deposit and no more than one withdrawal from the account. If not, a 0.50% ongoing base rate will apply.

Savers can also create up to three ‘sub’ accounts for different savings goals and make direct debits or BPAY payments straight from the Hiver Saver Account.

Meanwhile, the Hiver Everyday transaction account and linked Hiver Visa Debit Card will allow users track and to make purchases from their phone, with features such as spending categorisation and digital wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay.

Hiver is also giving its users 1% cash back on grocery store and public transport purchases made with the Hiver debit card, up to a value of $50 each calendar year.

While not available just yet, Teachers Mutual Bank also made it clear that Hiver home loans would also be offered to users in the coming months.

Banking on ethics

For many Australians, considerations regarding ethicacy and sustainability and their money are becoming increasingly important.

In fact, research from the Responsible Investment Association Australasia’s (RIAA) From Values to Riches 2020 report found that 87% of Australians expect that the money in their bank accounts should be invested ‘responsibly and ethically’.

This has been a major point of focus for Teachers Mutual Bank in the past few years, which has worked to have its home loan, savings account and term deposit products certified under the RIAA’s Responsible Investment Certification Program.

The mutual bank was also named as one of the world’s most ethical companies in 2021 by the Ethisphere Institute - the eight straight year it has appeared on the list.

And according to Teachers Mutual Bank chief digital bank officer, Carolyn Murphy, this focus on providing ethical and sustainable banking options will be no different with Hiver.

“Essential workers’ confidence in our ethical and efficient approach to banking could not be more important. We are excited to offer essential workers their first opportunity to use the new digital banking app, which can be found by searching ‘Hiver’ in platforms like Google Play and Apple’s App Store.”

RELATED: Aussies flock to socially responsible bank, Teachers Mutual

Interested in learning more about the digital options available to Australian banking customers?

Then you’ll want to check out the dedicated Mozo neobank and fintech hubs for the latest news, guides, reviews and more.

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