Bendigo Bank eyes expansion to Yamba

A COMMUNITY bank may open in Yamba with longer hours and Saturday trading.

Bendigo Bank has held two meetings in Yamba to gauge community support.

South Grafton branch manager Des Plunkett said it was looking promising.

“We've had two meetings with representatives of the businesses and community leaders and now we're at the point of forming a steering committee,” Mr Plunkett said.

The committee will be tasked with gauging public support for the bank.

“It will only work if the community gets behind it and supports it,” Mr Plunkett said.

“If the support is there, community members will be invited to join the existing board and oversee the operation of the company.”

The South Grafton Bendigo Bank opened in December 2000 and has 230 shareholders from the community.

They each receive a dividend from a portion of the profits, with the rest going back into business development and community grants.

“We've put over $150,000 back into the community,” Mr Plunkett said.

As many as 227 community banks have opened across Australia since 1998 and Mr Plunkett said not one of them had closed.

“It's a fair indicator that it works,” he said.

“The communities really get behind it because they own it and they're creating the profit for their own community,” he said.

A Bendigo branch in Yamba is still a fair way off but Mr Plunkett said if the support was there, one could be open in 12 months.

'It will only work if the community gets behind it and supports it.'

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