At the meeting of the Steering Committee of the Community Bank Project last month it was decided unanimously not to proceed, as it’s become clear that they will be unable to meet the revised requirements of the Bendigo Bank.
The Committee has been seeking pledges of capital into the venture and to date around $700,000 has been pledged by the Canowindra community.
The initial plan was to secure total pledges of $750,000 and then conduct an independent feasibility study to determine the business potential of a branch of the Community Bank in Canowindra. At the same time, the Committee was expected to encourage locals to begin doing business with the Bendigo Bank through the Orange Branch in order to achieve certain targets.
In view of the time taken to reach our original targets, the Managing Director of Bendigo Bank, Mike Hurst, has now set higher targets for our community to achieve before Bendigo would consider forming a full branch of the Community Bank in Canowindra.
Cheryl Newsom, Chairperson of the Steering Committee comprising of Herb Gardiner, David Harrison, Eugene Marais, Ray Melhuish, Billy Paul, Michael Payten, Richard Statham, and others, has expressed her disappointment at these latest revisions, “having put 12 months of solid work in asking the community to commit to pledges to fund the capital required to establish a local branch, we’re now presented with a revised set of targets.” They concluded that it would be very difficult to expect Canowindra locals to transfer their business to the Bendigo Bank in Orange without any real assurance that they would, in the future, be able to bank locally with the community Bank. “If Bendigo Bank were prepared to give a firm undertaking in writing with defined targets then this would be something we would consider” Cheryl added. Cheryl Newsom went on to thank all the committee members as well as the community for actively supporting the project with their generous pledges. The Committee will be writing to everyone in the community who made pledges to thank them and explain the decision.