A Personal Journey – Establishing a Community Bank® in Gosnells.
My husband and I had a small business in Gosnells for quite some time‚ and initially the businesses in the area were well serviced by each of the major banks.
Over time though the banks decided that there was not enough business coming through to them and they started shutting down.
Without banking services in the area‚ our business suffered as did other businesses in the area.
After some time we received a questionnaire asking if we'll support a community bank if it were to open in the area. Naturally we said yes as did a large number of residents and businesses.
BBL approached me and invited me to attend one of the meetings to decide if I would like to join the steering committee that would be responsible for making the Bank actually happen.
As with everyone else on the steering committed I was motivated and determined to ensure that we were successful in this enterprise for the good of the community‚ our businesses and so that residents had ready access to banking facilities.
As a committee‚ we were meeting at Ogdens in the Gosnells Hotel on a weekly basis‚ as there were so many documents to be prepared. We were receiving information from Bendigo Bank on how to start a Bank and most importantly we were raising the $500‚000 required to initial operate.
The Maximum any shareholder can obtain was and still is 10‚000 shares ensuring a broad representation of shareholders‚ reinforcing the community aspect of the Bank.
We did the hard yards‚ contacting people that said yes to the Bank in the initial survey. We went from business to business in the area to get their cards to be able to communicate with them any progress.
It was hard but rewarding work and as the momentum grew people started seeing that it was going to be achievable.
We rented premises in a good spot on Albany Highway we started opening the place with some promotional pamphlets and an "A" sign for Gosnells Community Bank® (Bendigo). People would come in and ask questions‚ and so many came back with $100 to $ 1000 and got a receipt from us on the spot. They were such wonderful days and the community spirit was exceptional. It did take a while but we raised what we needed and met the "hurdles" for establishment.
Then came the big day when the Branch was all ready to celebrate the opening on a Sunday with music and a sausage sizzle. People came from everywhere. Next day‚ Monday‚ the Bank was opened for business‚ and has been running successfully ever since.
By Lily Bahnam‚ Director Gosnells Financial Services Ltd