Community can’t bank on support

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By Mitchell Clarke

The Lakeside community bank in Pakenham shut its doors on Friday 31 May after directors and shareholders decided to cease operations as the future of the bank became no longer viable.

The bank re-opened in Lakeside on Monday 3 May as a Bendigo and Adelaide Bank branch instead.

Lakeside Residents Group president Wendy Andrews said the decision was likely caused by the changing nature of the way people bank.

“Banking is changing and people are changing the way they are doing it,” Ms Andrews said.

“More people are using online banking, they’re now getting their money out at the shops. The branches just aren’t being supported as they used to be.”

In a post sharing the news to the Lakeside Residents Group Facebook page, comments from residents suggested the overall community consensus was sadness at the closure.

“It will be a real loss to our community with the bank’s core purpose to assist the community with financial support and grants,” one Facebook user wrote.

“Unfortunately the banks generosity is only available with the support of the community itself.”

Another user said they tried to support the community bank, however when it came to refinancing, the bank was higher than other options.

“Couldn’t afford to support it any longer,” the comment said.

“The service has always been outstanding and it will be sad to see it go.”

The community branch opened its doors in August 2010 after the Lakeside community development forum and residents worked tirelessly for three years to bring the project to light.

In its time, the bank has supported many local groups including the Lakeside residents group, Scout group and sailing club.

Ms Andrews said that no customers were affected by the closure, with people’s accounts remaining the same.

“The only difference I can notice is that the bank won’t be able to give the community the support that the community bank did,“ Ms Andrews said.

“It is sad that the community and majority of shareholders didn’t have their banking business with their own local community bank.

“It would have made a huge difference.”

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