Branch openings show benefits of community banking
Bendigo Bank has welcomed two community-owned and operated branches into its Australia-wide network this week.
The Victorian coastal town of Port Fairy celebrated the opening of Port Fairy Community Bank®
Branch on Tuesday, while across the border, the South Australian town of Penola welcomed the 305th branch to the Community Bank® network yesterday.
Managing Director Mike Hirst said while the Community Bank® model has evolved since its inception in 1998, the core values of the unique banking model remain unchanged.
"The Community Bank® model was introduced to restore banking services to towns where the last of the major banks were closing down their services," Mr Hirst said.
"Bendigo Bank recognised the impact of these cuts on communities and decided to create a new franchise banking model which saw the Bank feed into prosperity by partnering with communities and sharing the revenue generated by the branch.
"Sixteen years later, the model has grown into something even bigger than that. It has rapidly developed into a partnership that generates a valued, alternative source of income for a community, funding activities or initiatives that make a local town or suburb a better place to live."
Port Fairy and Penola residents have already begun to see the Community Bank®model in action, with community groups and projects in each town receiving $5,000 and $7,000 respectively at their branch’s opening celebrations.
These branches form part of a bigger Community Bank® story, which has now seen more than 300 Community Bank® branches returning more than $122 million to support local groups and projects, with the network growing every year.
"The continued growth in the Community Bank® network since inception shows the value of the unique model for our customers and the communities in which they operate."
"Demand from communities remains strong, with about 30 Community Bank® sites currently in development, and many more conversations happening across metropolitan and regional Australia.
"The Community Bank® network’s steady expansion demonstrates the strength and relevance of a banking model where the desire to support the financial needs of customers is equalled by the desire to support the community with the good that money can bring," Mr Hirst said.
Community Bank statistics
- $122.2 million returned to community groups and projects
- 305 Community Bank® branches
- More than 1500 Community Bank® branch staff
- More than 1900 Community Bank® company directors
- About 550,000 Community Bank® branch customers
- More than 72,000 Community Bank® company shareholders
- $36.7 million in shareholder dividends paid
Community Bank® overview: Communities form local publicly owned companies which enter into a franchise agreement with Bendigo and Adelaide Bank. The Bank provides the banking infrastructure and licensing, while the community (through a volunteer board of directors) runs the branch operation and generates customer support.
Together the Bank and local community share the revenue, with surpluses available for investment in the community via grants, sponsorships and dividends to local shareholders. For more information visit www.communitybank.com.au or watch the Community Bank® story on YouTube.