April 2013 Issue 81

Should the government bank with the Community Bank?

B2B Editor1 April 2013
Bendigo Community Bank will putback 80% or more of it’s profits intocommunity services, groups, charitiesand events – profits derived directlyfrom the level of funds in bank accountswith the Community Bank. So why doesn’tGovernment, and every government agency,invest some of their funds on term depositwith Canberra’s Community Bank Branches of Bendigo Bank?
Understandably there is a tender processto do the government’s banking, and nodoubt that contract sits with one of the big4 banks currently. But not all of government’srevenue is part of that arrangement. Whatabout Federal Grants Funding and otherfederal money earmarked for projects to beadministered by the States and Territories?Why wouldn’t the ACT government investsome of those funds with the only locally owned bank in Canberra?
The local Community Bank isunapologetically parochial in it’s endeavoursto spend our money locally and to invest ourprofits in local groups that help local people.We hire local people, we buy our goodsand services locally where possible, and ourshareholders are almost all locals
The Molonglo Community Bank Grouphas four branches locally at Calwell, Curtin,Jerrabomberra and Wanniassa. Each Branchhas a Manager who runs the Branch andShould the government bankwith the Community Bank?makes the decisions. Advice is availableeveryday with no obligations. In return wehope locals will support our branches bybanking with us. Because we have done agood job of helping customers since 2002,this year we will be able to contribute ourone millionth dollar from profits back to community groups and projects.
The Community Bank model providecommunities with more than just qualitybanking services – they deliver employmentopportunities for local people, keep localcapital in the community, are a localinvestment option for shareholders andprovide a source of revenue for importantcommunity projects determined by the localc ommunity.
Canberra is a diverse community butultimately we are a community that caresabout our fellow citizens. We can always domore and although an increase of a thousandhouses in the last 11 years is something to beproud of the waiting lists are still not as shortas we would like.
One of the difficulties of Government isachieving balance between competing needsand sometimes demands. The latest changesto the tax laws, despite some of the fearmongering, mean that for people entering thehousing market, costs are reduced and thatultimately the burden is shared.
Personally I doubt that in the futurethe traditional sources of Governmentrevenue will be sufficient and I look forwardto a time when we can generate greatercommunity income from innovative practicesin business, education and industry so thatgeneral services become more affordablethrough strategies designed to increase our sustainability profile.
Governments around the country couldpartner with Community focused and provenphilanthropic corporate like the BendigoCommunity Banks to create communityassets in the community without having totax to pay for it.
The Partnership announced in Septemberby Minister Burch, between Canberra’sBendigo Community Bank Branches, WestBelconnen Health Co-Op and the ACTGovernment to deliver a Bulk Billing HealthCo-Op in Chisholm early next year is anexample of just such collaboration.
We can also build on the domestic andexport value of our marvelous tertiaryeducation facilities and create employmentopportunities and export potential throughgreener jobs in a carbon neutral and sustainable economy.
I do believe in dreaming big, but that canonly become reality when combined withworking hard. The future of Canberra hasnever looked brighter.