Push for new community bank

Economy. A bank which puts half of its profits back into the local community is what a new steering committee is pushing for in Circular Head.

According to the committee’s chairman Matthew Gunningham the Community Bank, a branch of Bendigo Bank, is about “locals doing something for themselves”.

Mr Gunningham described the bank as any other, different only in that it would give more back. He said of the 295 community branches across Australia, over $100 million had been generated into local communities.

“Bendigo Bank provides the banking infrastructure and licensing, while the community runs the branch operation and generates customer support in the area,” he said.

“Together Bendigo Bank and the local community share the revenue, with local surpluses available for reinvestment into the community via grants, sponsorships and dividends to local shareholders.

“It’s a community asset, that’s what it will be.”

Mr Gunningham said the committee is now asking for pledges in purchasing shares to generate the support needed to have the bank operational, which he said he hopes to be within 12 to 18 months.

“We all recognise that it’s not going to be a five minute job, but by the same token I think it is such a compelling idea.”

Mr Gunningham is one of 12 locals to band together to form the committee and promote the idea.

He said the committee already had members from all walks of life, but would welcome others who were interested. “We want to have as many people as possible involved.”

The steering committee will have a stall at the Circular Head Agricultural Society’s Annual Show on Saturday December 7.

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