Customers support Bank of Queensland reversal of bush bank drain

Bank of Queensland continues to defy the bush bank drain with the official opening of its newest branch in Kingaroy today.


The Kingaroy branch is the Bank's first rural branch opened as part of the Bank's growth strategy, which includes plans to open 34 new branches by August 2004 and seven new branches by August this year, taking the Bank's total branches to 128 throughout Queensland.


Kingaroy is the third branch to be opened as part of the network expansion; the first two branches opened in Coolum and Carina in December and February.


Both have already seen spectacular surges in customer support, lending weight to Bank of Queensland's strategy to increase marketshare and bottom-line profit by partnering with local communities, rather than disappointing them.


This has seen the Bank recently achieve record sales results.


While Kingaroy itself has held onto several bank branches, many other rural communities such as nearby Wondai have felt the cold steel of the rationalist's knife, including the latest round of big bank closures announced earlier this month which will see Wondai lose its only full bank branch by August.


The latest closures around Australia, including seven in Queensland, have heightened fears in many regional and rural centres that their communities could fall victim next, and suffer the devastating flow-on economic and social effects.


"Wondai is 30 minutes away from our new branch in Kingaroy but already Bank of Queensland has seen a groundswell of customers feeling let down by this latest closure announcement," Bank of Queensland General Manager Retail Donna Brown said from the Kingaroy opening today.


"The community is seeing that we are serious about our commitment to face-to-face banking in Australia and the future of our regional and rural centres, and they're voting with their feet to join us.


"They can see we're not just giving them nice-sounding platitudes about being responsible corporate citizens but we're also joining them in their backyards.


"Our ambitious growth strategy demonstrates our confidence in communities throughout the state, and also in Queensland's thriving, robust economy."


Mayor of Kingaroy Cr Roger Nunn welcomed Bank of Queensland's decision to open a branch in Kingaroy.

"I'm delighted to see a bank showing faith in the local community like this and supporting our businesses," he said.


"A financial institution opening their doors in a town like Kingaroy is a direct vote of confidence in the community, and a valuable weapon in the fight of all Australian regional and rural centres to halt population drift, and retain services.


"It's very refreshing to see a Bank opening its doors, instead of the dreaded bank closures which have been a serious blight on small towns throughout the country for so many years now."


Local Federal Member Cameron Thompson also supported the Bank's move: "I congratulate the Bank of Queensland on recognising the value of rural Queensland and the value of the services provided in these areas.

"I urge local people and businesses to get behind the Bank of Queensland and show them your support."


For further information contact:

Caroline Dunworth
Communications Officer
Bank of Queensland
Ph: (07) 3212 3128

Donna Brown
General Manager Retail
Bank of Queensland
Ph: (07) 3212 3212