Bendigo Bank broadens banking choice in Toowoomba
Australia's only regionally-based bank today announced major expansion plans for Toowoomba.
Within the next 12 months, two new Bendigo Bank branches will be opened in the city and the existing branch in the city's CBD will undergo a complete refurbishment.
Toowoomba's second Bendigo Bank branch will open within the first four months of 2002 and a third branch is scheduled to open in October, although a decision regarding the location of these branches has yet to be finalised.
There are also plans for another two ATMs to be installed in the city.
Bendigo Bank Managing Director Rob Hunt said this was exciting news for the people of Toowoomba.
"The people of Toowoomba have been tremendously supportive of Bendigo Bank following our arrival in the city in October 2000," Mr Hunt said.
"When Bendigo merged with First Australian Building Society we said we would use that existing base to expand our support for Queensland communities, particularly regional communities.
"Toowoomba is a key regional centre - one which we see as being extremely important to Queensland - and the expansion we announce today will significantly broaden banking choice in the region.
"As a building society, First Australian was limited in the support it could provide, particularly to the small business sector. However Bendigo provides a full suite of home and business banking products, including sophisticated 24-hour online banking facilities.
"We also hope to speak with community leaders about other initiatives to improve the region's prospects, including our Community Telco model and our Regional Development Fund.
"Bendigo is committed to providing community support beyond just banking. We believe that successful customers and successful communities create a successful bank - in that order. So if we can help Toowoomba to become more prosperous, and we are a banker to the region, then our business will automatically benefit."
Bendigo Bank has already demonstrated its commitment to Toowoomba, sponsoring this year's Exporting to the World Business Awards and will continue to support various Toowoomba events.
Bendigo Bank Retail Manager (QLD) Dennis Bice said the refurbishment of the existing branch, on the corner of Neil and Margaret streets, would begin early in the New Year.
"The branch expansion into Toowoomba will also mean job opportunities, with the existing branch already employing eight staff, including a business banking manager," he said.
"Wherever possible we will always use local building contractors for our refurbishment and new branch plans."
Today's announcement is part of a broader strategy to expand Bendigo Bank's network in Queensland. During the past six months Bendigo Bank has opened a new retail branch in Ingham and two Community Bank branches on the Gold Coast . A new company-owned branch will open in Bundaberg on March 3.
"Our ATM network has also undergone a complete overhaul with an additional nine new Bendigo Bank ATMs to be installed throughout QLD prior to March 2002," Mr Bice said.
"Staff have been upskilled and managers appointed in all our branches, Bendigo's business banking network has significantly grown and we will introduce the financial planning arm of our business to QLD by March next year."