By Sally McGlew
BANKING options in Bullsbrook will be down to zero when Bendigo Bank closes its Bullsbrook Branch this week.
On Monday, more than 70 people attended an urgent community meeting with the Bendigo bank board to find out their branch will be closed from today, Friday, February 26.
Bullsbrook Hardware owners Rob and Danae Mackie have been using the bank since they took over the business 15 years ago.
“All our revenue goes through Bendigo Bank, the eftpos, everything,” Mrs Mackie said.
“I’m worried about the elderly residents who live on the western side of the railway line, they can’t drive to Ellenbrook to do their banking, but they can drive to Bullsbrook.
“If we have to drive to Ellenbrook for our banking needs why would we bank with Bendigo Bank anymore?
“Other banks rates and services are better so if we have to drive to Ellenbrook we’ll change banks because we keep it local for the convenience but if there’s no convenience, why bother?”
One of the original members who headed the committee to lobby for a Bendigo Bank in Bullsbrook in 2002, Mr John Pronk, said the whole premise of the bank was to provide a community bank and distribute grants among the community for local groups and pay its shareholders.
“Now the bank is profit driven and without a bank in Bullsbrook there is nowhere for local traders to take their money,” he said.
Mr Pronk raised the local closure with Bendigo Bank headquarters in Victoria and was told the problem had to be resolved at a board level in Bullsbrook.
“I’m angry Bendigo Bank did not seek the shareholders view before making the decision to close.”
Bullsbrook Business owner David Lombardo said he attended the community meeting and there was not a lot of explanation for customers regarding the closure.
“I would have thought there was a segment in their constitution which states that they have to consult with the customers before taking such action,” Mr Lombardo said.
“Our core purpose 20 years ago was to create a branch in Bullsbrook.
“It’s been serving the community for decades now.”
Member of the Bullsbrook Bendigo Bank board, Kylie Hughes who is also the President of the Shire of Chittering said it was a tough decision to close the branch.
“It is regrettable and our last option,” she said.
“We are still leaving two branches open and customers can still bank at Bindoon or Ellenbrook.
“The branch has not been going well for a while and it’s a franchise of Bendigo Bank not a full branch.”
Ms Hughes said the three branches employed 14 staff and all the staff would be retained and sent to the other branches so there would be no job losses.