Australia's financial industry, like most, has transformed significantly in recent times to stay abreast of technological change, translating to a complete reconfiguration of how consumers engage with their money.

Gone are the days of the once ubiquitous in-branch transaction, now all but replaced by online banking and ATMs, with the latter also vanishing as consumers increasingly go cashless.

Yet even as customer preference has driven a lot of this change, relationship-based banking has continued to play a crucial role in service delivery when it comes to customers' financial decisions, according to Bendigo and Adelaide WA Mi-Lin Finnie.

Having built a career in finance spanning 25 years across retail, operations and business banking divisions in major and regional financial institutions, Mrs Finnie's current role is to lead a team of business banking professionals to assist customer-led strategies throughout WA.

"Australians now demand bespoke finance solutions from an organisation they trust and which will deliver results for them," she said.

"it's no longer just about developing new customer products and technology - it's about trusting banks to deliver on their promises."

From supporting her team on a local or national project, to connecting people in business, Mrs Finnie said no two days had been the same since she first accepted a teller role in 1994.

After stints in leadership and managerial roles with Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and Bankwest, Mrs Finnie commenced with the merged Bendigo and Adelaide Bank in August 2015 as Area Manager Business Banking WA, where she worked with key stakeholders to drive the bank's customer-led focus across communities in both regional and metropolitan locations.

Just over three years later, she was promoted to the regional manager role. 

looking back on her career, Mrs Finnie said effective time management had been a vital tool.

"I have learned to carefully plan my time so as to avoid over-committing and under-delivering, and to always ensure I have our customers' best interests at heart," she said.

Her managerial approach revolves around removing obstacles impeding staff from achieving success. To further this goal and to better empower her staff, she helped champion, create and facilitate a gender-balanced management team.

"What gets measured gets done, and through the bank's Women in Leadership program we have helped foster a working environment across the group where women now comprise 65 per cent of employees, 45 per cent of managers and 40 per cent of the board and executive," she said.

A diverse team brings with it diversity of thought and innovation. I am always open to new opportunities that may arise.

"Leadership is complex and I am learning all the time. However, I believe ethical and effective leadership is absolutely fundamental to delivering sustainable and business activities. People are the key to the success of any organisation.

"By being inclusive and diverse, the bank has created a workplace where everyone can be themselves and do their best work, ultimately benefiting our customers and our business."

Not content to sit idle, Mrs Finnie is currently studying a Masters of Business Administration at the Curtin Graduate School of Business, building on her studies in financial services, workplace training and assessment, lending, indigenous leadership and management. 

"I look forward to a long future in banking," she said.

"Access to capital is critical in helping customers, business and communities to prosper. It is a privilege to wake up everyday and be in position to help people achieve their dreams."

Sandra Argese is a Journalist at The West Australian Newspapers and is a writer for 'Leader', AIM WA's magazine for members.