Community Bank® network hits $5 billion milestone
When Clovelly Community Bank® Branch customers Peter and Val Elley opened their account this week, they became a small part of Australian banking history.
Their banking took the total business in Australia's 132 Community Bank® branches to more than $5 billion.
The $5 billion milestone was achieved just six years after the first locally owned branch of Bendigo Bank opened in the wake of a wave of branch closures that left many towns and suburbs without a bank.
“This achievement is a ringing endorsement of Community Banking®,” said Bendigo Bank's General Manager of Community and Alliance Banking, Russell Jenkins.
“Community Banks are doing much, much more than simply replacing bank branches that closed – they are providing significant economic and social stimulus which is changing the long-term prospects of many communities.
“For starters there are the jobs and wage packets provided by the branch, but we are also constantly hearing stories of shop takings and commercial tenancy levels increasing once Community Banks open and people start returning to their local area to bank.
“Probably the biggest impact is one which is impossible to measure – the creation of a brand new publicly owned enterprise which not only secures a sustainable banking service but also has the potential to deliver other long-term benefits.
“In many cases, this is improving the confidence and prospects of communities which had been in decline for many years.
“Their sense of pride is palpable. Look at a little place like Maldon, in central Victoria, where they have created their first publicly owned enterprise in over one hundred years.”
Mr Jenkins said Community Bank® customers now held more than 320,000 accounts.
“The first 60 branches to open are making profits and many others are in month-to-month trading surplus.
“Community Bank® companies have shared in more than $100 million in revenue generated by their customers' banking and their combined trading surpluses last year were $4.5 million.”
Mr Jenkins said the benefits to communities were mounting quickly.
“Community Bank® companies currently spend $4 million per month in their communities – that's $48 million per year that is being pumped into local economies that wasn't there before.
“They have created around 700 jobs in the branches and Bendigo Bank itself has created more than 60 jobs to support the network.”
Mr Jenkins said Community Banks had contributed around $3 million towards local projects and sponsorships and Boards have paid out shareholder dividends totalling more than $1.2 million.
“There are now 30,000-plus local shareholders and well in excess of 1000 directors of local companies who are gaining skills in running a public company that will stand their communities in good stead.”