The Nathalia and district community is always on the lookout for initiatives that will advance the quality of life and contribute to a thriving and prosperous community. This is why the community got behind the concept and established the 14th Bendigo Community Bank. Since its inception, the district residents and community groups have supported the Bank.
The Bank provides extensive banking services Monday to Friday as well as Saturday morning. Due to the fantastic support from the local community, it has grown and it now makes a reasonable profit that it shares with shareholders and community groups.
More than $90,000 has been put back into the community so far. Through the Bank’s philanthropic arm, Community Enterprise Foundation, many local organisations have benefited from donations to help with local projects. They include Neighbourhood Watch, Numurkah/Nathalia Legacy, Barmah and District Tourism, Nathalia New Years Eve Carnival, Uncle Bobs, St Vincent de Paul, Nathalia Scouts and Guides, Nathalia Fire Brigade, Lions and Rotary Clubs, local Kindergartens, Broken Creek landcare, local Schools and Sporting Clubs. The Community bank also provides sponsorship for a number of organisations.
Those who bought shares at $1 each have been getting a return on their money and this year will receive a franked dividend of 8%. The bank has also been behind bigger projects that have allowed for improving and expanding the economic, cultural and social infrastructure for the benefit of the whole community.
Strategic plan developed
In conjunction with the Bendigo Bank, the local bank board organised for a strategic plan to be developed for the town. This plan set out strategic economic goals and was put to the local community for discussion. A number of these initiatives have been taken up or are in the process of being developed. Out of this, the Nathalia Economic Development Group was established to implement the strategic plan for Nathalia. The main aim of this group is to achieve sustainable and balanced growth for Nathalia.
One of the major projects that the Bank supported was the Department of Sustainability and Environment office building, which not only provided a more pleasant working environment for the employees, but it kept jobs in town.
The Board has always sought opportunities to grow the business and has become part of the Bendigo Telco. This provides cost efficient phone, mobile and internet services to individuals and business. Setting up the automatic teller was another service to provide 24hour banking for customers, as well as those travelling through town.
The bank has been proactive in providing information sessions for the community. Samples of these have been housing investment, superannuation, water, succession planning, and financial planning seminars. Breakfast meetings have been a popular way to provide groups with information.
Recently the Board has decided to take on the challenge of a new branch and opened in a neighbouring town. This has allowed for further growth and soon we will begin putting money back into this community as well. This move has extended the business and the community bank now has 11 employees. The great way staff support customers have been a hallmark in our success.