Council bank set for opening

January 10, 2018

Berrigan’s Bendigo Bank branch will open on Monday at the Berrigan Shire Council offices in Chanter St.

It will be the first operating commercial bank in Berrigan since the NAB branch closure in July 2017.

The Berrigan branch will be managed by the Coleambally Community Bank and run by Berrigan Shire staff.

It will be a fully functional bank, however it will not be able to provide loan applications.

Berrigan Shire general manager Rowan Perkins said the new bank was a ‘‘big positive’’ for the community.

‘‘It will provide Berrigan residents with a local banking option,’’ he said.

‘‘Rather than travelling to other towns where they might do their banking and shopping, this will keep them in town supporting local businesses.

‘‘The bank has the potential to generate money for both council and the community.

‘‘The council has spent a lot of money establishing a bank so we urge the community to support it.

‘‘Coleambally Community Bank staff will be in Berrigan during the first week to help customers with enquires and assist council staff,’’ Mr Perkins said.

The announcement to open a bank at the council office was made in August and it was hoped it would be operating within six weeks.

Since that time local residents have been limited to basic transactions at the Berrigan Post Office, or travelling to surrounding towns.

Mr Perkins said the six week expectation was unrealistic.

‘‘I believe that number came from the Coleambally branch, and my understanding was they had previously opened banks within six weeks but since then there have been extra requirements that need to be undertaken.

‘‘The shire was required to install extra security and staff training before we could open, and that alone was going to take more than six weeks,’’ Mr Perkins said.

Berrigan Community Bank Steering Committee chairman Rob Clark said the opening would finally allow access to ‘‘proper banking’’ for residents.

The bank steering committee was formed following the NAB branch closure.

‘‘The Australian newspaper recently reported the big four banks are accelerating the closure of regional and country branches,’’ Mr Clark said.

‘‘To be able to see a bank open during the current climate is a wonderful outcome not just for Berrigan but the entire Berrigan Shire.

‘‘The other positive outcome, once the banking business builds, some of the profits made by the bank will be returned to the community.

‘‘If we can fill the bank’s books with regards to loans and deposits then we could one day see a stand alone branch, however that is in the long term,’’ Mr Clark said.

A Bendigo Bank ATM is expected to be installed at a later date.

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