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Raylene Bellottie takes leading role at financial industry watchdog AFCA

Giovanni Torre -

Raylene Bellottie will go on the front foot in her new role as a director of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority.

Ms Bellottie, alongside Yien Hong, was announced as a new industry director for the Authority this week. The appointments become effective on 1 January 2024.

Ms Bellottie, a proud Nanda woman from Yamatji country, told National Indigenous Times that AFCA is an "amazing organisation".

"I worked for 25 years in banking, and got on the board as someone with industry expertise, rather than as an identified Aboriginal position, however I can help them, the board, around how we reach out to Aboriginal communities and spread the word about AFCA and the work they do," she said.

"They are an amazing organisation. I will be making sure our mob are aware of it, that we inform communities about AFCA and its services."

AFCA's independent Board Chair, Professor John Pollaers OAM, said the board was excited to welcome Ms Bellottie and Ms Hong, who would bring "a wide breadth of skills and knowledge to their roles".

"Both of these highly successful women are the perfect fit for AFCA's board, and their appointments ensure the organisation will continue to provide an independent, free and fair external dispute resolution service for financial disputes in Australia," Professor Pollaers said.

The AFCA Board consists of an independent chair and an equal number of directors with consumer and industry experience, covering the multi-dimensional and highly complex industries AFCA deals with.

Ms Bellottie has with a wealth of expertise as an Aboriginal business director, consultant and board member. She has extensive financial sector experience of over 25 years and is committed to enhancing Indigenous financial literacy, and has served as the Deputy Chair of the First Nations Foundation for more than 10 years.

AFCA acknowledged Ms Bellottie's valuable experience during her tenure at ANZ Bank, later joining Credit Union Australia (CUA) as the National Business Development Manager of First Nations accounts, and noted that she was instrumental in expanding the First Nations Portfolio from $17 million to over $200 million.

Ms Bellottie is currently a business coach for the Waalitj Foundation, where she provides guidance and support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to enhance their competence and capability building.

In addition, she has held various roles with the Indigenous Advisory Group, the Indigenous Financial Service Network, and as the Deputy Chairperson for Nanda Aboriginal Corporation. Raylene is currently a member and director of Yamatji Southern Regional Corporation and Chairperson of Yamatji Funds Management Ltd.

Professor Pollaers said he "remarkable career in the finance sector along with her experience working with small businesses, means she has a strong understanding of the important work AFCA does".

Ms Bellottie and Ms Hong will replace current AFCA board members Claire Mackay and Andrew Fairley AM. Claire joined the AFCA board in May 2018 and Andrew in July 2018.

"Claire and Andrew played such an important part in AFCA's first five years, as founding directors. They both provided invaluable knowledge and expertise during their tenures and we thank them for the significant contributions they have made in helping AFCA to become the world-class ombudsman service it is today," Professor Pollaers said.

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) is a non-government ombudsman service providing free, fair and independent help with financial disputes. It is a one-stop-shop for consumers and small businesses who have a dispute with their financial firm, over things such as banking, credit, insurance, advice, investments or superannuation. Where an agreement cannot be reached between parties, AFCA can issue decisions that are binding on financial firms.

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