While the banking industry struggles with branch closures as customers migrate to mobile, we are pioneering a new retail strategy with Bendigo Bank that's working better than anyone expected...

A unique site on the prominent Norton St that ANZ proclaimed "Unfit for banking purposes"


Leichhardt is the second site in our quest to repurpose Bendigo Bank’s 530+ national branch network. Again in partnership with strategic research agency The Shopper Collective, we are testing the brand’s ability to connect with a very different community to that of the pilot branch in Norwood SA.

The open air courtyard in the centre of the site has been adopted by the bank and converted into a community garden



The main difference being that Leichhardt is currently emerging from a low ebb in the health and wellbeing of it’s community. Having suffered heavily since 2014 from the lockout laws, there is much work to do in resuscitating the community behind this once thriving street scene.

Engaging like minded builders and craftspeople to procure the site is just one of the strategies we have adopted to demonstrate an authentic approach to rebuilding the community. The bank does not see it’s role as dominant or heroic in this quest but recessive, supportive and collaborative as part of a group of local businesses who are already on this path.

We engaged local artist Shannon Crees (https://www.instagram.com/shannoncrees/?hl=en) to create the largest mural she’s ever done for the garden space. Even her process brought a sense of serenity and joy to the team as they were preparing to open.



Over forty new initiatives are being tested in the pilot branch in Norwood (opened Nov 2018), many of which have now been integrated into Leichhardt. One of the main learnings has been the value in the new staffing model. We have created a new role called a LEO (Local Engagement Officer). This is Caz, our Leo for Leichhardt. She is a full time appointment to the team but does absolutely no banking. Her ability to motivate and inspire the branch team by ideating with them around community engagement makes her role as critical for this new direction as it does for BAU.


The new staff teams have a greater level of collaboration and empowerment than ever before. They have decided that trading on a Saturday may be a good idea as their target audience for home loans are typically at work when they are open. On their first Saturday morning ‘Open Garden’ the team secured five home loan applications.


Following the remarkable results published from Norwood after six months of operating, we are keenly anticipating a similar outcome for Leichhardt. Watch this space for the next few sites opening in 2022.

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