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Bendigo Bank launches its first ‘community report’

1 June 2006 |Media centre

After 11 years as a bank with a unique strategy and a community focus, almost one quarter of Bendigo Bank's balance sheet has been sourced through direct business partnerships with community groups, Bendigo Bank Managing Director Rob Hunt said today.

Launching Bendigo Bank in the community, the company’s inaugural report on its community engagement activities, Mr Hunt said engaging with community at many levels was at the core of the bank’s business strategy.

“We have consistently maintained that ‘good community’ is also great business and both Bendigo and our community partners are now seeing the evidence of this,” Mr Hunt said.

“Our Community Bank® communities had received a total of $127 million in income until 30 June last year and we expect that to grow by another $60 million in the current financial year.

“That has translated to more than 800 direct jobs in their towns and suburbs, and $8.5 million has already been distributed through funding for local projects or local shareholder dividends.

“From Bendigo’s viewpoint, community banking has enabled us to expand our distribution network by 178 branches, has delivered almost $8 billion in banking business and last year contributed 12.4 per cent of our after-tax profit.

“And all those numbers – ours and the communities’ – are looking backwards. They do not account for the tremendous potential growth for both parties as we broaden our support for communities and create an environment in which customers actively seek to buy more from their business partner.”

Mr Hunt said Bendigo’s strategy aimed to help communities secure their financial future, build their social fabric and provide them with the means and/or partnerships to protect their environment.

“Many of our communities have already achieved the first aim through banking in a co-ordinated way through a locally owned branch. Seventy-four Community Bank® branches are already in accumulated profit and a further 71 have run operating surpluses for three or more months.

“Having demonstrated those outcomes are possible, we are now working on a raft of other opportunities to engage communities in enterprise that will grow their productive and social capital.

  • Bendigo Bank contributes more than $350,000 per year in cash, plus in-kind support, to its youth and community development program, Lead On. More than 3000 young people and 500 businesses have supported and engaged with Lead On through 16 sites across Australia. More than 200 young people have attributed their first job to the skills and contacts developed through Lead On.
  • Bendigo’s charitable arm, Community Enterprise Foundation, leverages the resources of the Bendigo Group and is therefore able to distribute 95 per cent of monies raised. The Foundation structure enables individual communities to establish a named management account and make recommendations to trustees about local projects worthy of support. Launched in early 2005, the Foundation has already distributed $3.8 million to community groups.
  • Community Telco Australia provides a franchise model for retailing telecommunications based on the same principles as Community Bank®. Whilst the cities of Bendigo and Ipswich have created solid business outcomes, other sites are only in early stages of development. There remains continued interest in retaining local capital and applying it to the most urgent issues confronting the individual communities.
  • Bendigo Bank in 2004/05 contributed $1.64 million – or 1.8 per cent of after-tax profit – to community sponsorships. Boards of Community Bank® branches made further grants totalling $1.1 million and this is likely to increase substantially as more Community Bank® sites mature.

“And in all of this community involvement, our staff have played and will continue to play an absolutely vital role, which has proven to be an excellent personal development approach and enables Bendigo to contribute to a broad range of community projects and innovations,” Mr Hunt said.

He said the community report detailed but a few of the outcomes being delivered through the Bendigo’s business and community partnerships and community engagement activities.

“We recognise our future is inextricably linked with the success of our customers and communities and, whether working through a company branch, a Community Bank® branch, or a remote indigenous community site, we are able to help improve the outcomes for our customers,” he said.

“We believe this will reflect positively on the support we receive from consumers in each of these markets. This report reflects on the progress to date and only briefly touches on some of the initiatives that are likely to gain momentum in years to come.”

Bendigo Bank in the community is available by calling 1300 361 911.

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