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8 July 2008 |Media centre

More than 600 Community Bank® delegates and directors are in Bendigo for the Community Bank® National Conference.

The All Seasons Quality Inn is hosting the two day long meeting, with the highlight of the event a gala dinner tonight in the Rosalind Park marquee. Celebrations this year mark ten years since Bendigo Bank and the people of Rupanyup and Minyip unveiled the first Community Bank® branches in Australia.

Today, these two towns have been joined by 215 communities to form one of Australia’s fastest growing banking networks.

Bendigo Bank’s Chief General Manager of Retail and Distribution, Russell Jenkins, said the National Conference is a momentous occasion.

“It’s fantastic to celebrate this milestone with the hundreds of Community Bank®directors from all across Australia, who have worked so hard to make their branches successful,” he said.

“It’s the biggest conference we have held and Bendigo will benefit from a significant boost to tourism worth millions of dollars.” Mr Jenkins said he’s proud of the Community Bank® network and what its helped people achieve in locations right across Australia, including our own community, Bendigo.

”The dedicated people who form the Community Bank® Boards have helped return more than $18.2 million in Community Bank® branch profits to their communities, with $12 million in dividends paid to more than 50,000 local shareholders,” Mr Jenkins said.

The number of Community Bank® branches has doubled in the last four years and in the same time frame, customers have tripled their commitment of banking business to the community network, increasing it to more than $11 billion.

Behind those numbers are hundreds of stories of Community Bank® branches making a real difference to the lives of local people.

David Matthews, was the very first Community Bank® chairman at Rupanyup/Minyip, and in the past ten years those branches have returned more than $450,000 in profits into community projects and groups.

“It is a worthwhile dream, and operating a Community Bank® branch has proved that it can be a catalyst for positive change.”

“Conferences like this are a great chance for us to hear what other Community Bank®branches are doing, to share ideas and challenges,” he said.

Mr Matthews said the local company’s partnership with Bendigo Bank continued to grow in strength, with both parties bringing benefits to the relationship.

“Bendigo Bank are the bankers and provide our community with a solid banking framework from which to run our Community Bank® branch and we believe the sky is the limit ,” Mr Matthews said.

Topics to be discussed at the National Conference include youth engagement, aged care, health and protecting the environment.

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