With the ANZ set to close the only bank branch in Gerringong at the end of January, Bendigo Bank is emerging as a possible candidate to provide banking services to the growing area.
With the support of the South Precinct committee and the councillors at its last meeting, Shane Douglas, General Manager of the Park Ridge Retreat and a Director of the Kiama & District Business Chamber, has been investigating the possibility of Bendigo Bank opening a facility in the township.
“People can’t believe that a town of this size can’t support a bank branch,” he says.
“No-one is disputing that a lot of business and personal banking is done on the internet now, but there are some times you need a branch.
“Gerringong has been caught up in ANZ’s corporate strategy, where it is closing 140 regional branches, and nothing we say will change that.”
Bendigo Bank has grown to be the fifth largest bank in Australia. Its community bank model encourages local shareholders and returns 80 per cent of each branch’s profit to the community it serves.
“The reaction from Bendigo has been very, very positive,” says Mr Douglas.
“At the moment, it looks like the best way for us to progress is to support a sub-branch of the Albion Park Branch opening here. They already have a sub-branch in Shellharbour that is working well.”
With the profits from the sub-branch going back into the community, and one or two locals on the Oak Flats board, he believes there is a lot of incentive for local businesses, clubs and individuals to switch to Bendigo.
“Other regional communities have done very well out of their business model,” he says.
Mr Douglas is encouraging as many people as possible to attend a public meeting to hear the details explained by state and local representatives of the bank.
“It is important to attend, not just to show your support but also to voice your opinion,” he says.
“Bendigo want to see how much genuine support there is within the community and this is the start of that process.”
Details: Weds 13 Dec,
Gerringong Town Hall, 7.30pm