Community Banks bang on

THE expansion of Bendigo Bank’s community banking concept is continuing in Western Australia, with two new branches having opened this year and two more on the way. The latest branch, opened at Lancelin this week, is a twist on the normal community banking model. The state’s 30 Community Bank branches are 50-50 joint ventures between Victoria’s Bendigo Bank and local communities, which must raise their own capital. For instance, the group behind the Community Bank at Fremantle raised $720,000 from investors prior to opening their branch earlier this year. Chairman Kevin Campbell said the Fremantle branch was performing well, with $6 million in loans and deposits written already, and was seeking to raise up to $1 million in capital to support its development. It is the first branch to have full time business bankers. In contrast, Lancelin has been established by Gingin Financial Services, which has been operating its own Community Bank branch at Gingin for four years. Community Bank branches are due to open in Albany this month and at Jurien Bay over the next six months.

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