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'Super Community Bank' trial for Logan

12 September 2002 |Media centre

Bendigo Bank and the community of Logan, in Queensland, will join forces to trial a 'super Community Bank' serving 170,000 residents.

In a plan suggested by community leaders, two existing Bendigo Bank branches in Logan will be expanded to five or six, rapidly increasing banking services across the municipality.

All but one of the branches will be Community Banks owned by local shareholders who will invest around $3 million to assume ownership of the existing Bendigo branches and open up to three new outlets.

Bendigo Bank will commit one million dollars over three years to build and operate a company-owned "specialised service centre" providing support to the community-owned branches.

The "super Community Bank" plan was jointly announced by chairman of the Board of Logan Community Financial Services Limited, Paul Hampson, and Bendigo Bank's head of Community Banking, Russell Jenkins. The plan is agreed in principle and is dependent on a successful due diligence and the community raising the required capital.

"This is a classic win-win," the two men said.

"Bendigo gains three or four extra retail banking sites in a growing municipality, local investors have the comfort of significant revenue streams from day one through taking over Bendigo's existing branches, and of course local residents and businesses have up to four extra branches at which to do their banking."

Community Bank® branches will be established in Springwood, Marsden and at the existing Bendigo branches at Logan Hyperdome and Browns Plains Grand Plaza. Investor support will determine whether another branch is opened at Rochedale. Bendigo has yet to choose a site for the specialist centre.

Mr Hampson said the agreement followed several months of negotiations. “This exciting development has come together over time and most would have liked to see it sooner than later, however had we not followed this process, this concept as we see it now may not have become an option.

“Having a Community Bank that represents all of Logan is the best option for the Logan community.”

Mr Jenkins said the 'super Community Bank' would be trialled for at least six months before being considered for other regions across Australia sharing similar circumstances and committed communities.

"We believe it has enormous potential to accelerate the rate at which Community Bank can cater for the community's demand for branch banking. We have faith in the community's support for Community Banking. Our current branches at Loganholme and Browns Plains are profitable operations and are forecast to grow under our ownership.

"But by assigning those businesses to community ownership, we believe the local owners will be able to generate even faster growth to the benefit of themselves and Bendigo. As with current Community Banks, there will be a long-term revenue stream for the community to reinvest in improving amenities or perhaps generating further economic activity in their district.

"The community now has the challenge of mobilising widespread support, but its investment in this new structure will be significant and the local public company which emerges will be a powerful vehicle for further initiatives to improve Logan's prospects in the new economy."

Mr Hampson said his banking committee was excited by the venture but understood there was a lot of work to be done to explain the proposal to the community and to attract investment funds. "The support we have had to date has been terrific and we are confident people will embrace the super Community Bank idea."

The Logan banking committee has already conducted feasibility studies which showed Community Bank branches in the municipality would succeed. "This is just an extension of that plan," Mr Hampson said.

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