Saturday, May 25, 2024

Your bank turns 25!!

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The Community Bank Maldon & District is now 25 years old, and you’re invited to the celebration at Bank Corner on Wednesday 24 April from 3pm to 5pm. There’ll be a sausage sizzle, ice cream, drinks and a cake.

Maldon was one of the early adopters of the Bendigo Bank’s community banking model. From the day that it opened its doors, the Community Bank Maldon & District has been a huge success.   

It all began with a determined group of local residents who banded together to see what they could do about the fact that the Commonwealth Bank and the National Bank had deserted the town. The simplest of banking transactions – whether it was a shopkeeper needing change, or someone needing to withdraw some cash – required a trip out of town. 

That group became a steering committee, which worked hard to make the possibility of a community bank become a reality. First job: to raise $250,000 of pledges, to show that there was a guarantee of community support. Twenty-five years ago, $250,000 was quite a chunk of money! But the funds were eventually raised, with the average pledger stumping up $1,500. A survey showed that over 80 per cent of the community was supportive of a locally-owned bank.  

Once the pledge money was in place, things moved quickly. The old Shire offices became the Bank’s new home. Steve Coyle was appointed as the Bank’s first manager. Staff were hired. A Bank Board was created. Local poet Martin Mulholland even wrote a poem about the Bank!  

On opening day, there was a breakfast held at the Maldon Hotel on Monday 26 April followed by a stampede to the Bank by would-be customers.  

The first account holders to be signed up were children Casey, Brianna and Tom Cain. By the end of the first week, 230 accounts were signed up at the Bank. For customers wanting to transfer loans and mortgages to the Bank, fees for these applications were waived for the first three months.  

Success! The Bank recorded a profit after only nine months, and since that date hasn’t looked back.

Tarrangower Times 19 April 2024

This article appeared in the Tarrangower Times, 19 April 2024.

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