The Rock branch manager Jess Tehuia says the building society has served central Queensland customers since the 1960s.
The Rock branch manager Jess Tehuia says the building society has served central Queensland customers since the 1960s. Luka Kauzlaric

Personal touch a promise as building society expands

THE Rock Building Society has been doing business with central Queensland since the 1960s - and in just a year in Gladstone, local branch manager Jess Tehuia can see why it's such a good fit for the community.

"It's been really nice to see how your customers are involved in the community, and tap into their local knowledge," Jess said.

"You know your customers by name and face, and if you're out and about you're always running into them."

Having moved up from the Gold Coast, Jess said she was impressed with how The Rock could focus working around local requirements, as a purely local business.

"We do look after just central Queensland, not banks all over the country or the world," she said

"It's going back to the old days, where you can actually sit in the manager's office."

Jess said while many long-time customers had grown up with that service, younger people were seeking out smaller financial institutions.

"There's a new generation looking for that service, who have previously only dealt with an ATM," she said.

And while big banks traditionally offer more diverse products, Jess said the past 12 months had seen The Rock's range expand rapidly.

"We can now basically offer everything a big bank can." she said.

"We have a lot of customers who had left, and now they're coming back because of that bigger range of what we offer."

Jess said Gladstone's industry hours had meant she had also changed her approach to the working day.

"I can meet on the weekends, or in the evenings - you've got to be prepared to do things different, otherwise you're just another bank," she said.

Jess rates sponsorship of a swimming carnival as Toolooa High School as one of the highlights of her job so far.