Woodburn banking on Bendigo branch
THE reality of a Bendigo Bank branch in Woodburn is one step closer thanks to the pledge target of $600,000 being reached just before Christmas.
"The next stage of the four-step process is now the feasibility study," Bendigo Bank's senior community enterprise manager Peter Dirkx said.
"The study is the second step and there will be a lot of preparatory work to be done."
President of the Mid Richmond Community Bank committee, Daniel Simpson, said that by reaching the pledge target they have proven there is enough community interest to get a local bank up and running.
"Hopefully a bank in Woodburn will provide additional employment and keep money local rather than people driving to Lismore or Ballina to do their banking," he said.
"The Bendigo Bank will provide full banking services to the area, which we don't currently have."
Mr Simpson is also hopeful that with a bank back in Woodburn it will attract more business and people to the area.
"It's important to have essential services for businesses and locals and that includes banking facilities," he said.
Another benefit to the community bank is that 80% of the profits will go back into the community, according to Mr Simpson.
"So we will see some significant development within the community," he said.
Beneficiaries of the bank to date have included the Woodburn Boxing Club, the Evans Head-Casino Surf Life Saving Club, the Mid-Richmond Education Fund, the Evans Head Fishing Classic as well as local schools.
"It's really unusual that we support local groups before the bank comes to town," Mr Dirkx said.
"I believe it's the activities of the committee that have helped to foster community spirit."
While the campaign has gone on for over two and a half years, Mr Simpson said unfortunate economic influences didn't help.
"The global financial crisis had just hit so to get people motivated to pledge was difficult," he said.
People who are still interested in pledging can continue to do so by picking up a form at local Woodburn businesses.