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Community Bank in Sydney tops $100 million


17/03/2003

As Turramurra and San Souci launch their bids to become Sydney’s newest Community Banks, the popular banking movement has 100 million reasons to celebrate its first anniversary in Sydney.

Since the opening of the first Community Bank branch in Galston last March (eds: 21/3/02), the six branches open to date have written more than $100 million in banking business.

Five thousand Sydneysiders have accounts with their local Community Bank.

“It’s a great start – Galston might have been open for a year, but the other five branches have only been trading for between six and ten months,” said Bendigo Bank’s head of Community Banking, Russell Jenkins.

“Galston will top $30 million in its first year. People are voting with their feet to say they appreciate the service local community-owned branches are bringing back to banking.”

Other branches are in Harbord, Clovelly, Homebush, North Richmond and Strathfield.

Mr Jenkins said Bendigo Bank expected at least a further four Community Bank branches to open around Sydney this year.

“Next cab off the rank will either be Turramurra or San Souci, both of which have just issued their prospectus to raise their start-up capital.

“Their story is fairly typical. They have a strong community and excellent retail shopping precincts and yet have seen a steady decline in branch banking.

“If they are successful in raising their capital, their own Community Bank will give their communities a huge shot in the arm. Traders in some areas have reported a 20 to 25 per cent jump in takings once their local bank opens.”

Sydney communities campaigning are:
• Turramurra has just released its prospectus after receiving pledges totalling $600,000 from 250 residents.
• San Souci’s prospectus is beginning to fill after receiving pledges totalling $700,000 from 300 residents.
• North Epping has completed a feasibility study and is preparing its business plan, with pledges totalling $500,000 from 245 residents.
• Bexley is at the same stage after receiving pledges totalling $521,000 from 320 residents.

Elsewhere in NSW, Wyong opens its branch on 31 March, Fairy Meadow is negotiating for a site after a successful pledge-raising campaign, Bexley and Milton/Ulladulla have completed feasibility studies, and Ettalong Beach and Toukley plan to launch feasibility studies in May/June.

There are currently a total of 15 Community Bank branches of Bendigo Bank in NSW, six in Sydney and nine regional branches.

Bendigo Bank itself last year opened six company owned branches in Sydney to support the spread of Community Bank branches through the metropolitan area. They are at Parramatta, St Ives, Belrose, Leichardt, Willoughby North and Dee Why.

There are 88 Community Bank branches of Bendigo Bank across Australia. They have opened more than 200,000 accounts and written more than $2.5 billion ($2500,000,000) in banking business.