Bendigo to broaden banking choice in Canberra
Bendigo Bank, Australia's only regionally-based bank and the sponsor of Community Banking, is about to broaden banking choice in the nation's capital city.
Bendigo's general manager of retail banking, Greg Gillett, today announced Bendigo would open a branch on London Circuit in early December.
This timing will coincide with the completion of a feasibility study now underway into Community Bank branches planned by the Wanniassa and Calwell communities.
"It is likely that by Easter 2002 there will be three Bendigo Bank outlets in Canberra, one company-owned and two community-owned," Mr Gillett said.
"This will broaden the choice for people attracted to Bendigo's regional and community style of banking, which emphasises customer choice of face-to-face or electronic banking."
Mr Gillett said Bendigo decided to branch out into Canberra following the "outstanding success" achieved by its business development team of Melita Grybaitis and Ray Lalic in recent years.
"They have built a substantial business for us in Canberra based on the combination of their personal attention and the convenience of Bendigo's 24-hour phone and e-banking capacity.
"Now we want to complement that and widen our service to Canberra customers to include face-to-face banking the Bendigo way through branch outlets. We expect that from a business perspective that will grow our deposit holdings to balance the loan portfolio established by Melita and Ray."
Mr Gillett said the London Circuit branch was due to open on 10 December. It would employ seven staff, including a manager and business banking manager, and would open from 9am to 5pm on weekdays.
Meanwhile, the feasibility study into Canberra's first Community Banks has produced early encouragement.
Chairman of the steering committee, Michael Lindfield, said 15,500 banking survey forms were mailed last week to residents and businesses in the Wanniassa and Calwell areas. Almost 400 have been returned in the first four days.
"By early December, when the Bendigo branch opens, we will have a fair idea of whether we have the support for Community Bank branches in the southern suburbs," Mr Lindfield said.
"With over 660 potential shareholders who have pledged one million dollars in startup capital, we believe we have the basis of a sound business plan. But we need people to commit their banking to us to give us the figures on which to proceed. It is vitally important that people intending to support their Community Bank return their surveys.
"Certainly having Bendigo Bank commit to a branch in Civic will help our cause because it will provide our customers with an outlet in the centre of the city, and because it cements Bendigo's commitment to the Canberra community."
Mr Gillett said Bendigo would bring the same approach to Canberra that it took wherever it operated.
"Our view is that we can only become successful by helping our customers and their communities to become more successful. If they do so, and we are their preferred banker, then our business automatically benefits."
Bendigo Bank operates 141 company-owned and 50 Community Bank branches across Australia. Formed in 1858 as Bendigo Building Society, the bank is one of Australia's oldest financial institutions. It has assets in excess of $7 billion and employs more than 1600 staff.