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Upwey banks $100 mil.


21/08/2003

Upwey & District Community Bank® has topped $100 million in banking business - the first locally owned bank branch in Australia to reach the magical figure.

The milestone comes as Upwey begins plans for its fifth anniversary, on 17 October.

"We now have 100 million reasons to know that the combination of local ownership and great service is a winning one," said Upwey chairman Peter Marke.

"Who would have dreamed when we opened the doors back in 1998 that we would ever reach $100 million, let alone do it in under five years.

"Ours was only the third Community Bank® branch to open in Australia and at that stage the concept was untried and unproven.

"The success we have achieved in such a short time speaks volumes for the loyalty of local people who have thrown their support behind us to secure banking in Upwey once and forever.

"It is also a testament to the hard work and vision of our original directors, all but one of whom remain with our Board, and I would like to thank them on behalf of the community for their contribution.

"Our branch manager, Mike Fleming, and his team have played a large part in the success because of the superb service they provide and we thank and congratulate them, too."

Mr Marke said the strength of the community's support had enabled the bank to generate substantial profits which we are now ploughing back into the district.

Already, Upwey's 200 shareholders have received three dividend payments and more than $90,000 has been distributed in special project grants to community groups.

"That grant program continues, and in fact we have a new round of submissions due next month," Mr Marke said.

He said directors were now looking to broaden Community Banking™ in the hills district.

"Having received great support from the residents of Belgrave and Cockatoo, we are planning to assist these communities in opening their own branches.

"That will further improve local banking services and will generate revenues which can be reinvested in those communities, too.

"Community Banking™ has been a real boon to our district and is enabling us to set our sights even higher for what we want to achieve as a community.

"It is a great achievement for a community which other banks had decided wasn't worth banking."

There are now 104 Community Bank® branches of Bendigo Bank in all States and the ACT. They have combined banking business of more than $3 billion.

Another Victorian town, Lang Lang, is nearing the $100 million mark in business held by the branches and businesses under its company structure - Lang Lang Community Bank®, Pearcedale Community Bank®, a sub-branch at Koo Wee Rup and an agency at Bunyip.