The Community Bank® Project in Augusta was initially sponsored by the Augusta Chamber of Commerce (ACC). The ACC was impressed by the model/concept of a business opportunity that would provide additional employment in the town‚ another business in the town centre and the sense of ownership that could be offered to members of the local community by becoming involved in the project.
The opportunity to have any business‚ let alone a bank return 50% of its profits to the community by way of dividend and sponsorship of community organizations and projects was an exciting one.
Augusta is the third oldest European settlement in Western Australia being first settled in May 1830‚ an occasion still celebrated each year on May 2nd by the Augusta Historical Society and members of the community.
The district has been supported by whaling in the mid 1800's‚ a timber industry in the late 1800's at Karridale‚ group settlement in the early 1900's and subsequent farming and fishing families.
Since the mid 1900's the town has established a reputation as a major family tourist destination for WA families and more recently for national and international visitors who marvel at the scenic location with the Blackwood River‚ Hardy Inlet and Flinders Bay providing extremely popular attractions.
The Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse‚ commenced operations in 1896 is a premier tourist destination in the region‚ situated where the Indian and Southern Oceans meet.
The last ten years has seen the establishment of a whale watching charter business successfully operating from June to September each year. The number of whales visiting and resting in Flinders Bay is increasing every year with up to 200 whales located in the bay at any one time.
A group of interested community members were briefed by Bendigo Bank on 19 May 2003 in relation to the proposal to establish Augusta and District Community Bank® Branch‚ and a committee was formed to evaluate the proposal.
A significant amount of work and public consultation was undertaken in relation to the feasibility of establishing the Augusta and Districts Community Bank® Branch of Bendigo Bank.
A preliminary public meeting was held to discuss the Community Bank® concept and the steps required to establish a Community Bank® branch in Augusta. As a result of the public meeting‚ a steering committee was formed to take the project forward to the next step.
Members of the steering community spoke to every community and sporting group in the Augusta region and even some in Margaret River and after about 18 months pledges totaling in excess of $500‚000 were received.
As a result the committee engaged an independent consultant RSM Bird Cameron to conduct a comprehensive feasibility study in relation to the proposal. The results indicated that the bank would be feasible and the next stage step was to prepare and issue a Prospectus.
At the end of the Prospectus period‚ a total of $621‚833 was raised in shares and the final stage of fitting out the bank and employing a manager and four customer service officers commenced.
On the 25th August 2005 the Branch was opened by Jesse Brown‚ our oldest shareholder at 93 and Levi Van Rosi‚ our youngest at 18 months. The branch opened for business on Friday 26th August at 9:30am.