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Bendigo Bank share top-up offer

22 October 2001 |Media centre

Bendigo Bank shareholders will be given the chance to purchase from 100 to 300 additional shares under a top-up scheme to be announced by Chairman Richard A. Guy OAM at today's annual general meeting of the company.

The offer will be mailed to Bendigo's 39,000 shareholders with their final dividend payment on 31 October. It will be open to shareholders registered at 1 November 2001.

"The top-up offer, following our buy-back earlier this year, continues our active capital management strategy," Mr Guy will tell today's meeting.

"This approach to active capital management provides shareholders with a regular chance to review the balance of their shareholding in Bendigo Bank and round up their holding should they wish.

"We need to raise additional capital because our lending and deposits continue to grow at record levels.

"You can expect to see more of this fine-tuning in future as we actively manage our capital levels in order to derive a better return from your investment."

Mr Guy will tell shareholders the Bank aims to increase the key performance ratio, return on equity, by one per cent per annum over the next three years. "This target is ambitious, but, we believe, achievable."

Its setting follows a five-year period of investment and positioning as the Bendigo equipped itself to deliver its regional and community banking strategy.

"When we became a bank (1995), we took a long-term view of what we needed to do to succeed.

"Rather than seek short-term, price-driven market share, we laid foundations for the future. We built systems, recruited people, developed product, built alliances and undertook community development projects.

"We equipped ourselves to help improve the prospects of our customers and their communities. If they become more successful, and we are their preferred banker, then our business, too, will be more successful.

"We have invested heavily in this strategy. In our core business, we built the systems and capacities required of a nationwide bank. We invested in establishing joint ventures with partners who could deliver customer bases or products which complement our style of banking and leverage our delivery systems.

"Community Bank, Community Telco, the Lead On youth development program, our Regional Development Fund and Bendigo Stock Exchange have all required funding. All of these projects, though, help develop more secure and dynamic markets for Bendigo to bank - successful communities create a successful bank."

Mr Guy will tell shareholders the Bank's prospects are excellent. "It should be remembered that many of our new businesses are less than three years old and, like any start-up businesses, take time to build scale. These businesses are now rapidly increasing their income and their contribution to Group profit.

"Bendigo is well positioned in the market and demand for our style of banking is strong. Again, last month was a record for new customers, with 17,500 people joining us. The quality of our existing loan book remains sound and our lenders are mindful of the need for prudence as we enter this period of economic uncertainty."

"Shareholders have been patient during five years of consistently heavy investment, but we expect a strong result in the current half to reaffirm our improving performance."

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