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Bendigo Bank arrives in Brisbane

9 February 2001 |Media centre

Bendigo Bank, the bank behind Australia's Community Bank movement, has officially arrived in Brisbane.

Nine city branches formerly branded First Provincial Building Society (FABS) were this week converted to Bendigo Bank, signalling the beginning of the Queensland metropolitan expansion.

Bendigo is investing around four million dollars to build its nationwide loan processing operation at FABS Ipswich headquarters and rebrand and refurbish 47 branches stretching from the Gold Coast to far north Queensland.

Bendigo's chief operating officer (Queensland) John Goddard said Bendigo was bringing "more of a retail focus" to the FABS network, including the relocation of some branches to higher profile sites.

"We decided to rebrand as Bendigo following customer feedback which showed there was little identification with the FABS name. FABS was a recently-created entity and even its branches were still branded First Provincial or Northern building society.

"The clear message we have received is that Bendigo Bank is welcome in Queensland and that Customers look forward to the opportunity to bank with us.

"The branch conversion rollout is rapidly gaining momentum we now expect all FABS branches to be rebranded Bendigo Bank during the first half of this year. They will then provide Bendigo's full product range, including business and internet banking.

"This is what our merger with First Australian was all about - to help customers achieve their financial aims by providing them with a wider range of services. Thanks to the great support we have received both from First Australian staff and customers, we have been able to introduce the full Bendigo service earlier than we had hoped."

The Brisbane branches now branded Bendigo Bank are located in Brisbane CBD, Indooroopilly, Mount Ommaney, Strathpine, Brookside, Toombul, Mount Gravatt, Loganholme and Browns Plains.

Staff at each branch have been trained in Bendigo Bank and banking systems, but full service on all existing First Australian products and services will remain available at converting branches until 31 August. Any new Customers opening accounts and accessing services at these branches will have access to the full range of Bendigo Bank products and services.

New services now available at the Bendigo Bank branded branches in Queensland include business and Internet banking.

The next conversion is scheduled for later this month at branches in and around Ipswich and Toowoomba.

"Bendigo is committed to providing Customers with the option of face-to-face banking service, particularly in regional areas," Mr Goddard said.

"We have established a Loans Centre in Ipswich, restored the historic head office building and announced Queensland's first two Community Bank branches at Biggera Waters and Paradise Point, both on the Gold Coast."

Initial results of FABS merger into the Bendigo Group will be seen on 19 February when the Bank releases its interim profit result.

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