Our approach and performance

Making saving a lifetime habit

Saver Plus is a program that helps people on lower incomes to develop long-term saving habits and reach a savings goal. It is delivered by a number of community organisations in partnership with ANZ. Participants in the program set a savings goal and receive financial education and support in reaching their goal. Once they reach their savings goal, ANZ matches their savings dollar-for-dollar up to $500.

The program aligns with ANZ's Corporate Sustainability framework priority to build financial capability.

The Saver Plus story

Saver Plus was developed jointly by ANZ and the Brotherhood of St Laurence in follow up to our research which demonstrated a correlation between levels of saving and financial literacy.

Saver Plus was developed with the Brotherhood of St Laurence and is delivered by partner community organisations including The Smith Family, The Benevolent Society and Berry Street. Funding from the Australian Government to the Brotherhood of St Laurence since 2009 has enabled the program to expand and operate nationally.This demonstrates the value of bringing together the collective resources and expertise of business, government and the community sector to address important economic and social issues.

The program operates in 61 communities across Australia, supporting lower-income Australians to build their money skills and develop a savings habit. Almost 500 ANZ branches support program delivery by engaging with local partners opening accounts for participants and referring eligible customers to the program.

Over the past 10 years, more than 16,000 people have participated in the Saver Plus program, making it one of the longest running, largest matched savings and financial literacy programs in the world.

How it works

People wishing to apply to join Saver Plus can call 1300 610 355 or email saverplus@bsl.org.au. On being accepted into the program, participants set a savings goal with help from a Saver Plus worker. They also open an ANZ Progress Saver account at a local ANZ branch.

During the program, participants attend 10 hours of financial education workshops that build their financial skills, knowledge and confidence. They make regular deposits into their ANZ account over a 10-month period, and keep in contact with their Saver Plus worker.

Once participants reach their savings goal, ANZ matches their savings dollar-for-dollar, up to $500. Participants can put this money towards their children's (or their own) education costs such as computers, uniforms, books and sports equipment.

Our partners

ANZ is working with community partners and the Australian Government to offer Saver Plus in more than 60 communities in every state and territory.

People apply to participate in Saver Plus by contacting the local community organisation (PDF 68kB) delivering Saver Plus in their region.

The benefits of Saver Plus

Qualitative research reveals the positive outcomes of Saver Plus for participants. Many participants report the program improved their confidence, pride, self-esteem and trust. Research has also revealed that Saver Plus contributes to building new financial skills through program workshops and, for some participants, leads to longer-term positive behaviour change in the form of ongoing savings habits.

The 2012 study conducted by RMIT University, Evaluation of Saver Plus, found that Saver Plus "continues to achieve its aims in assisting low-income individuals to develop a savings habit and improve levels of financial literacy”, with:

The positive outcomes for the broader community can also be recognised, as in many cases (81.3%), participants reported that through Saver Plus they were able to encourage other family members to save. Overall, Saver Plus is a successful program in building financial capability for those experiencing difficulty accessing other important asset-building solutions.

ANZ employees and Saver Plus

Our employees play an important role in the success of Saver Plus by opening and maintaining the ANZ Progress Saver accounts and assisting with the financial education workshops. Feedback from participants regarding ANZ employees involvement is positive and employees value the contribution they can make to the program.

One of ANZ’s Branch Managers, Nick McLeod, considers the key benefit of Saver Plus to be its role in helping our customers to build long-term financial independence.

“Through its focus on educating people in money management and building confidence in everyday financial matters, Saver Plus offers some of our lower income customers’ real financial independence.”

Nick’s branch in Tasmania is located in one of the original pilot areas for the program and three years on, Nick says the team makes Saver Plus “part of our everyday conversations with our customers.”

2014 results

2014 results

In FY2014 we invested more than $4 million in Saver Plus.

More than 5,400 people were enrolled in Saver Plus in 2014. Evaluation by RMIT University shows the program has been successful in meeting its aims to support participants to improve money management skills and develop a savings habit.

Over the 10 years of Saver Plus operation, more than 14,000 people completed the program with 97 percent achieving or exceeding their savings goal. Based on the increased ability of participants to save, RMIT University estimates a social return on investment of $3.98 for every $1 invested in the program by the Government.

Our community partner organisations, The Smith Family, Berry Street and The Benevolent Society continued to deliver Saver Plus in 2014, as well as local service delivery agencies, Anglicare SA, Anglicare WA, Haven, Ballarat Group Training, Bethany Community Support and JewishCare Victoria.

Gender 2014 2013
Male 15% 14%
Female 85% 86%
2013 results

2013 results

In December we published our most recent evaluation of Saver Plus. The RMIT University findings from the “2012 Saver Plus Evaluation Report – Phase 4” showed that 87% of Saver Plus participants were still saving the same amount or more up to a year after they completed Saver Plus, 79% said they were better equipped to deal with unexpected expenses and 81% encouraged family members - including children - to save.

ANZ, our community partners and the Australian Government deliver Saver Plus in 61 communities. The program is available in every Australian State and Territory.

Our community partners, the Brotherhood of St Laurence, Berry Street, The Smith Family and The Benevolent Society, continue to deliver the program along with Anglicare SA, Anglicare WA, Anglicare NT, Ballarat Group Training (BGT), Bethany, Jewish Care Victoria and Haven.

Gender of participants

Gender 2013 2012
Male 14% 13%
Female 86% 87%

'All figures reported are accurate as at end September 2013.

Status of participants

More than half the evaluation respondents were sole parents (59.1%), 28.2% were part of a couple with children, 3.6% were single with no dependent children and 5% were living at home with parents.

2012 results

2012 results

ANZ, our community partners and the Australian Government deliver Saver Plus in more than 60 communities . The program is available in every Australian State and Territory.

Our community partners, the Brotherhood of St Laurence, Berry Street, The Smith Family and The Benevolent Society, continue to deliver the program along with Anglicare SA, Anglicare WA, Anglicare NT, Ballarat Group Training (BGT), Bethany, Jewish Care Victoria and Haven.

Gender of participants

Gender 2012 2011
Male 13% 12%
Female 87% 88%
Status of participants
Status 2012 2011
Sole parent 59% 55%
Couple with children 28% 33%
Other 13% 12%

The future

We are working with our community partners and the Australian Government to enrol at least 4,750 people in our Saver Plus program in Australia to achieve our 2014 target of 14,250.  

2011 results

2011 results

In 2011, the Australian Government provided funding to continue the delivery of Saver Plus in more than 60 communities for a further four years. ANZ continues to invest in the program and provides the matched savings for participants. The program is available in every Australian state and territory.

Our partners, the Brotherhood of St Laurence, Berry Street, The Smith Family and The Benevolent Society, continue to deliver the program along with Anglicare SA, Anglicare WA, Anglicare NT, BGT, Bethany Community Support, Jewish Care Victoria and Haven.

ANZ investment into Saver Plus (includes matching)

Gender of participants

Status of participants

Total amount deposited by Saver Plus participants

The future

We are working with our community partners and the Australian Government to enrol a further 14,750 people in our Saver Plus program for the 3-year period to June 2015. This is an increase on the 2009 to 2011 participation goal.

2010 results

2010 results

In 2010, assisted by the Australian Government funding received in the previous year, the Saver Plus program expanded from 20 to 60 communities. For the first time, the program became available in every Australian state and territory.

As a result of this expansion, new community organisations are delivering the program along with our existing partners, the Brotherhood of St Laurence, Berry Street, The Smith Family and The Benevolent Society.

Saver Plus participants

Saver Plus investment

Saver Plus gender

Saver Plus status

Saver Plus total investment

The future

We are working with our community partners and the Australian Government to enrol a further 7,600 people in our Saver Plus program for the two-year period to June 2011.

2009 results

2009 results

The Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd announced in October $13.5 million in funding for the Saver Plus program as part of the Federal Government's $50 million initiative to build better financial capability and resilience in the community. The Australian Government support will help ANZ, the Brotherhood of St Laurence, and other partners to more than double the reach of the Saver Plus matched savings and financial literacy program to an additional 7,600 people on low incomes by 2011.

The Brotherhood of St Laurence and other Saver Plus partners the Benevolent Society, The Smith Family and Berry Street, will work with ANZ to expand the reach of Saver Plus.

Our community partners enrolled 1,192 participants in the Saver Plus matched savings and financial literacy program this year, compared to our target of 1,500 participants. Recruitment proved more difficult than in previous periods with some partners advising that general financial insecurity for low-income people had impacted overall recruitment rates.

New Saver Plus participants

ANZ investment in Saver Plus (includes matching)

Gender of participants

Status of participants

Total amount deposited by Saver Plus participants each year

New research

In November 2009 Dr Roslyn Russell of RMIT University produced a new evaluation report on the Saver Plus program, for the period 1 April 2006 to 30 June 2009. The evaluation confirmed the success of Saver Plus in assisting participants in achieving a savings goal. Key findings include:

  • participants consistently report increased confidence, reduced stress and greater control over their lives as a result of their savings success - 82.7 per cent completed and received matched funds
  • 96 per cent of participants who completed the program met or exceed their savings goal
  • the most commonly saved for items were computers or computer-related equipment
  • 84.5 per cent of participants who met or exceeded their goal were able to decrease their levels of debt during the program.

In November 2009 Chant Link & Associates conducted a study of Saver Plus, providing new insights into why savings programs like Saver Plus can develop long-term savings behaviour and overcome factors which can lead to irrational financial decision-making.

Key findings of the research included:

  • a financial incentive provided a strong motivator to overcome the 'preference for the immediate' and provided a 'hook' to encourage people to join Saver Plus
  • individuals have a tendency to make inconsistent choices, depending on how an offer is 'framed'. Care should be taken in setting maximum savings goals that may seem unrealistic for some prospective participants
  • Linking behavioural goals with an emotional driver, such as saving for the needs of family or children, makes for a powerful combination and a strong motivator for changing financial habits.

The future

We will work with our community partners and the Australian Government to reach a further 7,600 people with our Saver Plus program over two years. Recommendations from the recent study into the success of Saver Plus will inform this expansion.

2008 results

2008 results

2008 marked the five year anniversary of Saver Plus. It was a good time to measure the long-term achievements of the program, so ANZ commissioned a study by Dr Roslyn Russell of RMIT University, comparing Saver Plus to other matched savings programs around the world.

The study found that Saver Plus "clearly demonstrates best practice" in a number of areas. The program has been a positive experience for participants: it enhances confidence and self-esteem, changes attitudes to money, and gives participants life skills they can pass on to their children.

But there are also more measurable results: 96% of Saver Plus participants meet or exceed their savings goal, and 70% are still saving the same amount or more 2 to 3 years later, demonstrating that the savings habit is continuing. 

Saver Plus was expanded in 2008 to 20 locations, including Tasmania for the first time, with the assistance of the Tasmanian Community Fund. 1,585 people joined the program in this year, meeting our goal of 1500 participants.

In the past five years, ANZ has invested more than $7.6 million in the development, expansion and matching of savings for Saver Plus. More than 3,800 people, saving a total of almost $3.5 million, have participated in Saver Plus since it began.

Number of Saver Plus participants by year

ANZ investment in Saver Plus

Information about Saver Plus participants - gender of participants

Information about Saver Plus participants - participant status

ANZ investment in Saver Plus (includes matching)

The future

The success of the Saver Plus program means we are committed to expanding it further in conjunction with our partners and other agencies who share our objective of improving the financial and social inclusion of disadvantaged communities.

Case study: Assessing the impact of Saver Plus

Claire, a young mum with two teenage sons at high school, is one of the many thousands of people who have benefited from our financial capability program, Saver Plus.

While Saver Plus has helped Claire save to support her children's school expenses, her involvement in the program has also played a role in her journey to become a home owner.

Claire first heard about Saver Plus through word of mouth in her local community. As a single parent, she believed that her only option for a home loan was through local finance institutions until she went to open her Saver Plus account. In the branch, she struck up a conversation with one of our staff members who explained that her dream of purchasing a family home could become a reality.

Several visits to her local branch, and two MoneyMinded sessions (as part of the Saver Plus program) later, Claire became a first-time home owner and is proud of her savings achievement to support her family. Her story shows how Saver Plus can help people to build financial skills and knowledge and support them to achieve their long-term goals.

For more research and report information on Saver Plus visit:

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