Bendigo Bank and Pharmacy Guild Australia alliance
Bendigo Bank and Guild Insurance & Financial Services, the commercial arm of Pharmacy Guild Australia, today reached agreement to develop a strategic alliance.
The agreement was announced by Rob Hunt, Bendigo's Group Managing Director, and Harry Zafer, Chairman of Guild Insurance and Financial Services.
National President of The Pharmacy Guild of Australia, John Bronger, confirmed The Guild's strong support of this major initiative, commenting on the benefits the alliance would bring to the pharmacy profession and the wider community.
In a joint statement, Mr Hunt and Mr Zafer said the alliance, covering the Bank and the Guild's 5000 member pharmacists, would be developed in stages.
"Our initial focus will be to develop products to service the financial needs of Guild members and their businesses.
"These products will seek to add value to pharmacy businesses by complementing existing insurance and investment products offered by Guild Insurance & Financial Services.
"Over time, we will look to provide, through selected pharmacies, retail banking services to those communities in which there is a demonstrated need for a banking solution and where there is no other option provided by Bendigo Bank or any other banking provider.
"Guild Banking might then be an option for those communities not serviced by a bank, agency or Community Bank branch. We expect that the trust and high regard associated with pharmacists will be a highly valuable component of this strategy.
"We stress that this is a longer-term goal and that our initial focus is very much on establishing GuildBanking as a provider of financial services to industry members."
Mr Zafer said Pharmacy Guild had re-evaluated its banking aims following the decision late last year not to proceed with an earlier plan to provide retail banking through pharmacies.
"We believe the best approach is to build from the ground up - to establish a solid platform of business banking support for our members before looking at giving them the option of providing retail banking services for their customers.
"Bendigo Bank has an excellent track record of banking discrete groups such as our membership and we look forward to developing this alliance to the benefit of pharmacists and the communities they serve."
Mr Hunt said servicing pharmacists' own banking needs was an important step in building confidence in Bendigo Bank as a service provider.
"That confidence is necessary if we are to realise the potential of GuildBanking to service community banking needs. "Bendigo Bank has a long history of running successful banking agencies in stores and a number of our current agencies are established in pharmacies.
"This will stand us in good stead as we move forward in this alliance."