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'They' have misjudged us, warns new Community Bank®

9 March 2000 |Media centre

Toodyay this Saturday opens Western Australia's newest Community Bank with a shot across the bows of the big banks.

"They have badly misjudged their market in cutting branch services in Toodyay,"said incoming Community Bank chairman and local supermarket owner Richard Dymond.

"We are not a dying town in the middle of nowhere. We have 3800 people, we're less than an hour from Perth and our population is growing at six per cent per year.

"In ten years time, we expect to double our population and my guess is that most of them will bank with the bank which backed their town."

Toodyay is the fifth town to open a Community Bank branch of Victorian-based Bendigo Bank, following Kulin, Goomalling, Cranbrook and Tambellup.

More than 300 local residents have contributed $325,000 to buy shares in the venture, which will return profits to the local community.

Mr Dymond said Bendigo Bank had run banking days leading up to Saturday's opening, with almost 100 accounts opened and more than $2 million in business already written.

"That will be credited to our bank from day one, earning us income."

Mr Dymond said the Community Bank's opening hours would rank with any bank in the state - Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm and Saturdays from 9am to noon.

"It's all about service to the public, an area which has been sadly lacking in the banking industry.

"Our bank will respond to the needs of its community."

Mr Dymond said the opening of its own Community Bank would continue Toodyay's growth impetus.

"This town is going places. We have a new million-dollar community centre underway and last week the State Government announced a $700,000 funding package for our new aquatic centre.

"It makes sense given that we have a great lifestyle to offer just 85km from Perth. I think the big banks will rue the day they left.

"The Victorian Community Bank of Upwey is a similar town to ours, about an hour out of Melbourne, and they are making more than $10,000 a month profit for their town after just 15 months in business."

Toodyay is the 21st Community Bank in Bendigo Bank's 18-month-old network. A growing number are already returning monthly operating surpluses to their local owners.

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