Banking will continue in Blackheath, despite the closure of the Commonwealth Bank branch last Friday with an agency of the Bendigo Bank to be set up in the town’s newsagency.
Blackheath couple Doug and Janette Forsyth are renovating their shop to allow the branch in a room at the back of the newsagency. Mrs Forsyth is being trained by Bendigo to handle deposits, withdrawals and transfers as well as opening new accounts and updating existing ones.
Katoomba Bendigo branch manager, Brigitte Mackenzie, said the bank was delighted at the new arrangements and the branch will be “operational ASAP to restore full banking services to the town”.
It is hoped the branch will open within a few weeks.
Mrs Forsyth said she and her husband contacted Bendigo as soon as they heard about the closure of the Commonwealth.
“We thought, let’s get something going right now,” Mrs Forsyth said.
Her husband said he knew the loss of the Commonwealth would adversely affect both local residents and businesses and he hoped the branch “would be something to benefit the town”.
Long-term Blackheath resident and volunteer director on the Bendigo Bank board, Jenny Ross, said she was delighted to learn the bank was coming to town.
”Bendigo Bank has a long track record of donations to local organisations to help them provide services to their communities. They do this in place of using money for advertising purposes as they want the money to help directly.
“Blackheath groups that have benefited already from this include the Blackheath Scouts, the Blackheath and District Horticultural Society and the Rotary Club.
“To have a bank that actually supports its community is a real boost to our town."
Bendigo’s business development manager, Vince Tropiano, is visiting businesses in Blackheath to tell them about the changes and give them application forms to open an account if they were interested.
“A lot of people are very pleased that Bendigo have come board and there’s been lots of smiling faces,” he said.
The branch will initially be open from 10am-4pm on weekdays but those hours may be extended in time.