In a blow to island business, the Bendigo Bank agency is closing down.
Just over six months ago, the agency was ‘saved’ from an earlier demise when it was taken over by the owners of LJ Hooker on Macleay Island.
Banking was still conducted out of the same address; the area was combined with the LJ Hooker property management section hoping to offset some of the overheads for the Bank.
Robyn Jessop, of LJ Hooker Macleay Island, told The Friendly Bay Islander that a number of initiatives were introduced to try to make the agency ‘viable’.
“We knew it was losing money every month but we considered it a valuable community service and we would like to try retain and grow, hopefully.
“This did not occur and we were losing some $3000 per month in costs over the income it generated.
“It was never seen as a profit centre for us at any stage.
“However, sadly it became a case of one step forward, two steps back.
“To be viable, we had to substantially grow the number of accounts on the islands.
“We spoke to many many people, small groups and businesses; many said they would consider changing but alas the fact is that people do not change banks easily unless very dissatisfied.
“It became very obvious to us that most people did not consider supporting and having a bank here on the island as a necessity or a priority.
“Whilst we did receive some small success in this area, it was quickly offset with the loss of a greater number of accounts because of natural attrition.
“For this reason, the reality being that is was costing us too much each month, we could not continue to subsidise it any longer.
“We invested over $50,000 carrying it and trying to make it viable for the greater good of the community; sadly it became blatantly obvious it was not going to be financially viable.
So it had to be a sensible commercial decision and it is with great regret that the agency is closing down.” Robyn Jessop added.
“We feel we gave it a darn good try when no-one else wanted it.”
The true fact is that the nature of banking is changing rapidly, with most people using online banking nowadays, with modern computers and mobile phones.
The need for face-to-face banking is fast disappearing; even the new tap & go Credit Cards are causing most of the ATM’s to soon become a distant memory, such is the new banking culture.
It seems we are heading more and more towards a nearly cashless society in years to come.
The agency will be closing its banking operations at close of business on Thursday February the 15th.
Island Bendigo Bank account holders will be pleased to know that they can carry out Bendigo Bank transactions at both the Macleay Island and Russell Island Post Offices.
They can also carry out business at the main Victoria Point Bendigo Bank at 127 Colburn Avenue.
“As long as they have a Bendigo Bank card, they can utilise full banking transactions at Australia Post,” we have been told.