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Bendigo Bank's interim operating profit after tax was $11.0 million, a 30 per cent increase on the corresponding period last year

18 March 2005 |Media centre

Bendigo Bank is the issuer of a new V8 Supercar Championship Series Visa credit card that will give motorsport supporters and the Australian public privileged access to events and the products and services of the series’ supporting sponsors.

The card, known as the Visa V8 Supercard, is a joint initiative of the V8 Supercar Championship Series, V8 Supercar team owner Craig Gore’s Wright Patton Shakespeare Financial Group, Visa International and Bendigo Bank.

Cardholders will receive premium access to series’ sponsors and licensees including BigPond, Victoria Bitter, Sidchrome, Dunlop, Beaurepaires, Super Cheap Auto and Xbox, as well as Wright Patton Shakespeare, AVESCO and AVESCO Events.

The card is the product of a contract struck ahead of the 2004 season when Mr Gore’s Wright Patton Shakespeare group was awarded a 10-year contract to be the ‘official financial services provider to V8 Supercars’.

Wright Patton Shakespeare saw merit in pursuing the credit card plan in recognition of the loyalty that Australian motorsport fans had shown the V8 Supercar series.

Mr Gore approached financial institutions seeking interest in the credit card proposal and entered into negotiations with Visa as the card provider and Bendigo Bank as the card issuer.

The deal was finalised in February, with Wright Patton Shakespeare maintaining an ongoing role as the distributor of the Visa V8 Supercard in association with AVESCO.

Mr Gore said the card demonstrated a further maturing of the V8 Supercar series and recognised the size, loyalty and spending power of Australian motorsport supporters.

“V8 Supercar fans are passionate about their sport and we want to reward them for their loyalty,” said Mr Gore.

“Each of the participating parties sees great potential in the Visa V8 Supercard and we have set a target of the distribution of 200,000 cards in the first three years.”

AVESCO chairman Tony Cochrane said the Australian market for the card was significant, given more than 1.6 million spectators attended races during the 2004 V8 Supercar Championship Series and it was the third most watched sport behind cricket and AFL.

“The loyalty factor of the supporters is also relevant here in that 58% of V8 Supercar patrons support sponsors when making purchasing decisions, according to research from AC Nielsen.

“The introduction of the Visa V8 Supercard will be a great asset to the series and it will allow us to return a dividend to our support base through a range of discount offers from participating sponsors.”

Bendigo Cards Division Chief Manager Greg Devlin said the V8 Supercar credit card program was another example of Bendigo being at the forefront of industry innovation and change.

“The launch of this product targeted specifically at fans of the V8 Supercar series and motorsport in general is in keeping with the bank’s philosophy of meeting the needs of our customers,” Mr Devlin said.

“This card will excite V8 fans by providing experiences relating to their sport that they would not generally have access to.

“We are very excited to be involved with this program.”

The Visa V8 Supercard is the first of major card partnering arrangement undertaken by Bendigo Bank, which has a history of innovation that includes its association with Visa.

Bendigo was the first financial institution to successfully introduce Visa to Australia (1982) and the first financial institution to introduce the Visa debit card to Australia (1982).

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