Community Bank chair Neale Guthrie leaves a lasting legacy after a decade of service

Neha Attre10 March 2021
Neale Guthrie, Mick Gentleman

Neale Guthrie, chair of the Canberra Community Banks with Mick Gentleman. Photo: Supplied.

After a decade of service that included the digital transformation of banking, Neale Guthrie has stepped down from his role as chair of the Canberra Community Bank Group.

The Community Bank group, which operates the Bendigo Bank branches in Calwell, Curtin, Jerrabomberra and Wanniassa, offers access to Bendigo’s award-winning banking and financial services.

Their vision is to make their branches the number one choice for banking and financial services for community-minded businesses and people in the ACT while committed to returning profits to their local communities.

Mr Guthrie joined the Community Bank Board in 2010 following a 22-year career as a regular army officer and holding several senior roles within the private and public sector.

Mr Guthrie says that community banks are one of the largest social enterprise networks in the world. “Community banks are a great model of how communities can come together and provide services they need and are vital for the running of our societies. At the same time, it delivers jobs and put precious resources back to those who need them in the local community,” he said.

After being appointed as the chair in 2016, Mr Guthrie has steered the company through a rapidly changing landscape.

“The onset of the digital world has changed the way the customers interact with the bank and how services are delivered. That has been an interesting process and continues to be,” he said.

Mr Guthrie has also steered the company through the changes in banking after the Global Financial Crisis and through the COVID -19 pandemic.

“We were well supported by our franchise partner Bendigo Bank, and were able to implement their pandemic plan to ensure the safety of our staff and customers. We have bounced back and continue to operate in the environment like everyone does,” Mr Guthrie said.

During Mr Guthrie’s tenure, the Canberra Community Banks became the first Community Bank network to appoint mobile lenders. Mr Guthrie was appointed to the Community Bank National Council to advocate for communities around Australia. He has also been a mentor to other Community Bank directors in the Canberra region and was instrumental in establishing the Jayson Hinder Memorial scholarship in honour of former chair Jayson Hinder.

“Over the last five years, it has been a great experience to work with the shareholders, our company and Bendigo Bank to keep the company agile,” Mr Guthrie said.

Mr Guthrie will remain on the board until the middle of 2021 and plans to spend his retirement enjoying more time with his family and travelling.

Mr Brian Brown has been appointed as the new chair and Nigel Phair and Sarah Rajic as co-deputy chairs. Incoming chair Brian Brown said that Mr Guthrie was a proud Canberran and an outstanding chair.

“Neale Guthrie leaves some big shoes to fill after a decade of service to our Community Banks. Neale has also served as a representative at national level on the Community Bank National Council which represents the directors of more than 230 Community Bank companies operating in more than 300 communities across the country,” he said.

“Nationwide, Community Bank branches have now returned more than $250 million in contributions to more than 300 communities across Australia. Locally, since 2002, our branches in Calwell, Curtin, Jerrabomberra and Wanniassa have returned more than $1.4 million to local clubs, groups and organisations in the Canberra region.”

Neale Guthrie, Chloe Heath, Martin Fisk, Damian McNamara, Gai Brodtmann MP

Cheque presentation to Kailey Jitts, winner of the Jayson Hinder Memorial Scholarship, 2019. Pictured (left-right) Caleb Te Moananui, Neale Guthrie, Kailey Jitts, Stephen Imre, Cheryl O’Donnell. Photo: Supplied.

Keep up to date with Canberra Community Bank online.

Original Article published by Neha Attre on The RiotACT.

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