Bendigo plays host to ABA Council Meeting in a regional first
The spotlight was on Bendigo today as the city played host to the September Council meeting of the Australian Banking Association Inc - who were in town at the invitation of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank - the first time the ABA Council has met outside one of Australia's major capitals.
Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Managing Director, Marnie Baker said "As well as working through the ABA Council agenda, the visit was a great opportunity to highlight the fact that with smart urban and regional investment, banks play a major role in improving the lives of Australians as our population grows - no matter where they live.
"Our growth as a city has seen many new residents call Bendigo home in recent years with lifestyle and housing affordability as primary drivers for a reversal of the population shift to Australia's major capitals. Our Bank is proud to have been part of this community since its inception in the 1850s gold rush, and to have participated in the city’s evolution as a highly regarded regional landmark.
"As the only ABA-member bank headquartered in regional Australia, it was a pleasure to be able to host the ABA Council meeting, showcase our wonderful region and to take the opportunity to underscore to our 23 fellow member banks that Bendigo truly is a city that is open for business with significant future prospects.
"More than half our Bendigo Bank branches are in regional or rural areas and a consistent message from frontline people across our regional and Community Bank® branch network is that the call of regional Australia is increasingly being heard.
"Australia's banks have an essential role to play in funding economic growth and cities like Bendigo offer attractive solutions to housing affordability, unemployment and overcrowding in the East Coast capitals.
"The Regional Australia Institute recently estimated that there are currently more than 40,000 jobs available outside the capital cities, so it is important to ensure that both our political and business leaders are on the same page and actively developing collaborative strategies to help enable the further success of regional economies and businesses.
"Good social infrastructure, especially healthcare, education and retail services underpin regional economies and continued investment in initiatives that make it easier for people to stay or move to regional Australia are vital, all points impressed upon the Council members during their visit.
"We were encouraged to see a panel session devoted to the subject of drought and financial hardship in regional areas. The prosperity of regional communities sits at the very heart of our business, and our agribusiness specialist, Rural Bank, adds a specific focus on farming communities."
"The prolonged drought and dry conditions in many parts of the country continue to impact farming businesses, small regional businesses, families and communities alike, and it was valuable to bring together farmers, grower groups, financial counsellors, support services, peak bodies and the banking sector for a discussion about this important subject."
"Our staff at The Bendigo Centre also welcomed the opportunity to meet and hear from ABA CEO, Anna Bligh, who took part in an 'on the couch' session outside the Council's formal agenda to talk about the importance of the new Banking Code of Practice, the release of the ABA's SME Lending Economic Report and the launch last week of the new one-stop-shop 'Financing your small business' website", Ms Baker concluded.
About the ABA
Led by Chief Executive Officer, Anna Bligh, the Association’s 23 member banks are governed by a Council comprising CEO’s whose purpose is to address a wide range of public policy issues to help build a regulatory environment that promotes growth in the banking industry and the wider economy. The ABA works to ensure that banking is affordable and accessible and enables customers to get the right products and services for their banking needs.
The ABA Council is led by the Chairman, Shayne Elliott, Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Chief Executive, and the Deputy Chairman, David Carter, Suncorp CEO Banking & Wealth. The ABA’s Council provides guidance and leadership to the ABA on policy issues which affect the banking and financial sector.
Recent ABA initiatives:
Banking Code of Practice: https://www.ausbanking.org.au/campaigns/new-banking-code/
Financing your Small Business: www.financingyoursmallbusiness.com.au