Queensland's first Bendigo Bank branch opens
Queensland's first branch of Bendigo Bank was officially opened today in Ipswich by State Treasurer David Hamill.
The East Street branch is the first of the former First Australian Building Society branches to be converted to Bendigo Bank.
Other south-eastern Queensland branches, currently branded First Provincial B.S., will become Bendigo branches by March 2001. Conversions of northern Queensland branches, branded Northern Building Society, will follow later in the year, Bendigo's chief operating officer (Queensland) John Goddard announced today.
Mr Goddard said the East Street, Ipswich, branch would now provide the full range of Bendigo Bank accounts and services.
"This is what our merger with First Australian was all about," Mr Goddard said, "to help customers achieve their financial aims by providing them with a wider range of services.
"Thanks to the great support we have received both from First Australian staff and customers, we have been able to introduce the full Bendigo service earlier than we had hoped."
New services not previously available through First Australian's network of branches include business and internet banking. Full service on all existing First Australian products and services will still be available at converting branches.
"We intend to convert all current First Australian accounts to equivalent Bendigo Bank accounts on 31 August next year," Mr Goddard said.
He said that as a newcomer to Queensland, Bendigo had consulted widely about the branding of its newly-acquired branches.
"The clear message we have received from First Australian communities is that Bendigo Bank is welcome in Queensland and that Customers look forward to the opportunity to bank with us.
"Given that the First Australian brand had not really become established, customers have told our staff they are very relaxed about the Bendigo Bank name being introduced. They certainly appreciate the extra services we can provide.
"Bendigo is committed to providing customers with the option of face-to-face service, particularly in regional areas."
Mr Goddard said the bank had made good progress in consolidating the merger with First Australian. "We have substantially completed the establishment of Bendigo's nationwide loans centre here in Ipswich with the addition of a number of new positions.
"We have also completed restoration of the historic head office building and we have announced Queensland's first Community Bank, at Biggera Waters on the Gold Coast.
"I have no doubt, as branches are opened over the next six months or so, that customers will welcome the alternative Bendigo provides."