Lender partners with university to launch new community bank

by Julia Corderoy02 Aug 2016

Regional lender Bendigo Bank has partnered with Deakin University in Victoria in an Australian-first collaboration which will provide a community banking service that will return profits to the university community for programs and capital projects.

Deakin University vice-chancellor, Professor Jane den Hollander, and Bendigo Bank managing director, Mike Hirst, jointly announced the new initiative today, which will operate under the bank’s successful ‘Community Bank’ model.

“This innovative collaboration was borne from Deakin’s mission to constantly improve the experience we provide the communities we serve, and to build external partnerships that add value to all involved, socially and financially,” Professor den Hollander said.

“The real benefit lies in the long-term return to the Deakin community, through the creation of a sustainable income stream that will grow as the business grows and will be invested back into meaningful projects.

“By choosing to bank with the Deakin University Community Bank initiative, our staff, students, alumni and stakeholders will be contributing to the profits that could, for example, one day fund new scholarships to help young people follow their dreams, grants for researchers to become world leaders in their fields, and sustainable capital projects that make our university the best place to work and study.”

Traditionally, Community Bank companies invest locally into services and people, through projects like scholarship funds, skate parks, community buses, sports stadiums and health centres.

Since the model was established in 1998 more than $148 million in banking profits have been reinvested in this way.

Hirst said the expansion of the Community Bank model into a university recognised that community wasn’t just bound by geography – a town or a suburb – but was also created through shared interests and objectives.

“Today’s announcement is the culmination of a long engagement with the Deakin community about the value they see in a community banking service and how it could support their goals,” he said.

“It means that for staff, students and alumni, just by doing their everyday banking through the Deakin University Community Bank initiative, they can contribute to supporting projects that matter to them and their university.”

Bendigo Bank and Deakin University signed a Memorandum of Understanding in January 2015, with collaborative projects since then including a rural and regional employment development program and a scholarship fund for country students.