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New banking initiative for Tasmania

18 April 2000 |Media centre

Bendigo Bank and its alliance partner Tasmanian Trustees today announced they would develop a new banking organisation to operate in Tasmania.

The joint announcement was made by Bendigo's Group Managing Director Rob Hunt and Tasmanian Trustees Chairman Barry Henry.

The new company will be 50 per cent owned by Bendigo Bank and 50 per cent owned in Tasmania through Tasmanian Trustees.

"Other parties have been asked to join us as the joint venture develops," Messrs Hunt and Henry said, "and we see the development as being complementary with Bendigo Bank's other alliance partner, Tassie Home Loans.

"But however the venture develops, we will ensure the company will always be 50 per cent owned in Tasmania."

Messrs Hunt and Henry said the joint venture partners would recruit a Managing Director, who would be Tasmanian-based, to oversee development of the new company.

"The new company will offer all banking services and will look to establish retail offices in key centres across the state. A range of options, including Community Banks, will be employed to service smaller communities across the State.

"Bendigo Bank has already received a number of requests for Community Banks and we will look at how the new business can support Community Bank branches."

Mr Henry said that to commence formation of the new corporate relationship, Tasmanian Trustees Limited would place up to six per cent of its issued capital at market value with Bendigo Bank Limited forthwith, and up to a further four per cent following approval by shareholders of the necessary changes to its constitution.

"Mr Hunt will be invited to join our Board and plans for implementation will begin immediately.

"This new banking company will be structured in such a way that Tasmanians directly benefit from its profitability.

"Bendigo Bank has a proven track record in adding value to communities it serves, as does Tasmanian Trustees, and the enhancement of our existing alliance through this new joint venture will be a welcome addition to competition in banking in Tasmania."

Mr Hunt said Bendigo Bank regarded Tasmania as "a logical market for us". "It is very similar in many respects to other regions in which we are established as part of the fabric of communities we serve.

"This new venture will be structured in a balanced way to ensure that the company is relevant to Tasmanians and therefore generates the participation which will ensure its success. And that success will be shared by Tasmanians in a way which will contribute to their prosperity.

"Bendigo Bank has a deeply-held belief that only by creating success for the communities in which we operate can our company be successful as well. We therefore undertake this new joint venture with the utmost commitment to add value for Tasmania."

Referring to widespread speculation that Bendigo Bank might acquire the operations of the former Trust Bank following the merger between Commonwealth Bank and Colonial, Mr Hunt said: "There has been no determination from the ACCC about the future of Trust Bank. Bendigo Bank and Tasmanian Trustees will proceed with our plan for a new company and will look at any other opportunities as they arise."

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