With a brand legacy steeped in community and a business directive to build sustainability back into the communities in which it operates, Bendigo Bank are now repurposing their branches to this very end.

From a dark and dangerous alleyway to a beautifully illuminated gallery

A few words with Richard Fennell, Consumer Banking Executive

“While our competitors keep closing bank branches, we know that along with an intuitive digital presence, a physical banking presence remains important for communities to grow and thrive.”

“The way customers choose to interact with us is evolving rapidly. This presents us with the opportunity to reinvent the way we engage with the community through the physical channel (where we previously only talked about it).”

“This project has been a transformational initiative for our retail business; We have new branch team roles dedicated solely to local community integration, traditional products have become in-branch experiences and our ability to connect customers to the people they need to meet (anywhere in Australia through any channel) will soon become a major differentiator in consumer banking.”

As well as a dedicated creative area for artists to work, ‘Retail Springboard’ offers local business owners access to free pop-up shopfront space, while the community space gives local groups a central location for meetings, art exhibitions and business presentations.

Mr Fennell said Norwood was chosen as the location for its Australian first branch format because it presented broad community, consumer and partnership opportunity… “However there are many variants we are simultaneously developing to understand how our idea of community can be delivered across our entire branch network.”

He said regular ‘Property Journey’ events and seminars would commence at the branch in the new year, bringing together local experts and specialists to provide customers with information and guidance on their own property investments, developments and projects.

A ‘Business Connection’ service would also be offered he said, using in-branch video conferencing facilities to connect a network of business mentors across the country who will share their experiences in running a successful business.

Early indications suggest that the new branch format is raising eyebrows in the local community with three times the foot traffic coming in than in the previous branch in the same location. Says CJ Majica, the new Local Engagement Officer at the branch: “Our community engagement has had an amazing start with huge interest in Retail Springboard from the local business community and a long list of customers and non customers wanting to get involved in the Business Connection program.”

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