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Community & Business

12 December, 2022

New team, as bank celebrates 16-years

It is somewhat ironic that last week, a big-four bank closed permanently in Gilgandra, while another, community-run entity continues to grow.

By Lucie Peart

The Commonwealth Bank’s physical local branch shut on December 2, 2022 - the latest in big bank closures in regional Australia over the past few years. Meanwhile, the now only physical branded bank presence, Gilgandra and District Community Bank, Bendigo Bank branch celebrated 16-years of operation.

The ‘winds of change’ continue to impact the staffing at Gilgandra Community Bank branch, where long-time local, Morgan Adams, has accepted an appointment as ‘branch operations manager’.

She heads up an all-female team, ably assisted by Kate McClelland, Kirsty Zell, and newest recruit Heidy Schink, who commenced duty last week. Community Bank board chair, Julie Prout, acknowledged the foresight of the original steering committee which comprised of Don Kennaugh, Doug Clouten, Walter Prout, Arthur Noonan, Sally Foran, Lara Zell, Lorraine Hutchison, John Campbell, David Sawley, Max Zell OAM and the late John Miller OAM.

She said these people recognised the advantages of the ‘Community Bank’ concept and the partnership with the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, which returns 50 per cent of the locally-managed franchise profits to the local community.

The Gilgandra Community Bank branch opened at the height of the millennium drought, and suffered the impacts of the 2009 Miller Street fire and the recent horrendous drought of 2016 to 2018. Gilgandra Financial Services Ltd, the operating entity of the bank has, since its inception, donated in excess of $600,000 to local charities and service organisations.

At its annual general meeting conducted in October this year; the board announced the payment of a further five cent per share unfranked dividend in January 2023, bringing a total of four dividends paid over the last five years. Gilgandra Financial Services Ltd is an Australian Stock Exchange listed company which is governed by a board of 11 volunteers with Julie Prout as chair, Sandra Lawford as secretary and Dubbo-based accountant, Laura Gilmour as treasurer.

Supporting the staff at Gilgandra, the company also operates an agency at Cowra with mobile lending staff based in Orange and Narromine.

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