Community bank marks a decade

MASCOT VISIT: Volunteer directors Kerry Brown leads Piggy through the streets of Blackheath.
MASCOT VISIT: Volunteer directors Kerry Brown leads Piggy through the streets of Blackheath.

Bendigo Bank will celebrate its 10th birthday in Katoomba and Blackheath on Friday, December 6.

Volunteer director Jane Canfield said there would be cake and giveaways at the Katoomba branch from 9am to noon, along with an appearance from the Bendigo Piggy and local clown Dan Druff.

There will be more cake and giveaways at the Blackheath agency that afternoon, as well as another chance to meet the Bendigo Piggy.

Ms Canfield said the event marked a major milestone for the community bank which has returned more than $600,000 to the community in the last 10 years.

"We bought our building in Katoomba Street a year ago and also opened our first agency in Blackheath, in conjunction with Janette Forsyth at the Blackheath Newsagency," Ms Canfield said.

The idea for the bank first came about when a group of community-minded people who were involved in the Katoomba Chamber of Commerce saw a need for additional funding to help non-profit and charitable groups in the area.

Ms Canfield said the bank's unique model ensured that instead of profits going to pay directors and shareholders, the bulk were returned to the community.

"It took three years of dedicated hard work by these same directors just to get the doors open, in conjunction with Bendigo Bank Ltd, to ensure that the branch would be viable and that we had the support," she said.

"Thankfully, the upper Blue Mountains is all about community and understanding the 'Bendigo Way'."

Ms Canfield said Bendigo Bank customers could expect "old-fashioned banking" where the staff know you, the bank manager makes the bulk of decisions at the branch, and all banking services are on offer.

"All banking details are private and only the staff are privy to personal details, so the directors only know if someone is banking with us if they tell us," Ms Canfield said.

"And it is also important to state that even though we put a lot of emphasis on the community aspect of the bank, we are very competitive and offer all the services of a bank, including insurances.

"Bendigo Bank is for those that care about where their banking profits go and those who are fed up with the arrogance of 'traditional banking' and what they have got away with for so long."

Prospective customers are welcome to drop in for a chat. The Katoomba branch of Bendigo Bank is at 117 Katoomba Street, Katoomba. For details phone 4782 1144 or go to www.katoombabendigobank.com.

The Blackheath Bendigo Bank Agency is at 245 Great Western Highway, Blackheath. Phone 4787 8499.

Community organisations can find sponsorship applications on the website or call into the branch or agency.

NICE PLACE: Staff demonstrate that at Bendigo Bank it's all about the community.

NICE PLACE: Staff demonstrate that at Bendigo Bank it's all about the community.

GENEROUS SUPPORT: Cancer support group Can Assist Blue Mountains accepts a cheque from Bendigo Bank.

GENEROUS SUPPORT: Cancer support group Can Assist Blue Mountains accepts a cheque from Bendigo Bank.

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