By Jo Hill, chair Calliope and District Enterprises Ltd, Bendigo Community Bank Calliope and Gladstone
Following the purchase in 2020 of the Bendigo corporate branch at Kin Kora, the Calliope and District Enterprises Ltd now trades as Bendigo Community Bank Calliope and Gladstone. Growing our business in Gladstone allows us to contribute to the wider community by generating more income.
This is great news for the Gladstone Region as even more organisations have access to the excellent service a locally owned community bank provides, as well as the possibility of sponsorship and grants.
It is important that we reflect on how and why the Bendigo Community Bank Calliope and Gladstone came into being, and to understand how important it is to our community.
The story of Bendigo Community Banking really began in 1998 when the Bendigo Bank managing director of the day, Rob Hunt, looked around at all the big banks closing their rural and small branches and leaving the communities in a difficult position.
He instigated the venture we benefit from today, the Bendigo Community Bank.
The philosophy of Community Banking is, to quote Rob Hunt, ”successful customers and successful communities create a successful bank- in that order, with the bank feeding into prosperity, not off it. Community Bank works as a shared value model, creating economic value at the same time it helps communities address their needs and challenges.”
This is how it works: local people become shareholders in a Community Company formed specifically to run a Bendigo Branch Franchise. Directors of the Company were and are still volunteers, and the shareholders money is used to start the branch and hire staff.
The Community Company pays the costs of running the branch and receives half the income that the business makes. Bendigo Bank collects the other half for providing full banking services such as Business Banking, Financial Advice, Insurance, and infrastructure.
Of the profits from the Community Bank Branch, up to 20 per cent go to the shareholders in dividends with the balance available for our community by way of sponsorship, scholarships, grants and donations.
Back in 2005 there was a lot of doubt in our community about whether a bank could give profits to the community, but after 4 years of selling the idea and shares in the Calliope and District Enterprises Ltd, the Bendigo Community Bank Calliope opened its doors in 2009.
The shareholders and people who bank with us should be very proud that they have contributed to many Not for Profit organisations, sporting clubs, young Uni students and facilities such as the Benaraby Drivers Education Centre and the Calliope Roosters Multifunction facility. Bendigo Community Bank Calliope and Gladstone shares the values of our community and with your ongoing support will continue to invest in our community.
Since 2011 we have contributed more than $2.75 million to the region, including scholarships, grants, donations and dividends. Yes, where you bank does make a difference!