The opening today of Manly's only bank - Bank of Queensland's newest branch - will be a welcome catalyst for the Bayside suburb's ongoing development, according to Lord Mayor Jim Soorley.
In officially opening Bank of Queensland Manly, Cr Soorley emphasised the importance of quality banking services to an area's social and economic well-being, particularly with suburbs on the cusp of major change like Manly, Manly West and Lota.
"Local banking facilities are an important part of many communities, providing a much needed service to the local community," Cr Soorley said.
"Over the past twelve months, the Bank of Queensland has demonstrated a strong commitment to supporting Brisbane communities - a commitment that started with the opening of a branch at Carina a year ago as part of Council's Suburban Centre Improvement Project.
"In suburbs that have undergone improvements through partnership between businesses and government, we have seen vital community services attracted back to those areas."
Manly and surrounding suburbs have been without their own bank since 1998, after "Big Four" branches were closed in Manly and Manly West.
Bank of Queensland Manly will be located in the same Cambridge Parade building vacated by the Commonwealth Bank four years ago and adjacent to the transforming streetscaping works completed by the Council in 1993.
Bank of Queensland Managing Director David Liddy endorsed Cr Soorley's comments, saying Bank of Queensland was now an intrinsic part of the Manly community and would share in its future.
"Our presence will rectify the very obvious lack of face-to-face personal and business banking facilities in the area - something we have also achieved in nine other suburban and regional communities this year where we have opened new branches," Mr Liddy said.
"Banks are a key part of any thriving community, providing support and convenience for businesses and residents, often acting as an anchor for an area's retail and commercial businesses which help prevent an economic drain to nearby areas."
Manly branch owner-manager Adam McAnalen said he wanted his branch to play a full role in the area's growth, and at the same time help retain the unique character that made Manly such an independent and distinct community despite its closeness to the city.
"By focusing on providing friendly, yet efficient banking services, I can help enable the suburb to retain its friendly "seaside village" character and maintain its economic self-sufficiency and independence," he said.
"Having a local bank is important for the area's very high proportion of elderly citizens - those who have called Manly home for many years as well as those who have retired here to enjoy the relaxed bayside lifestyle.
"Manly lost both its banks four years ago, something which impacted heavily on the people of Manly and Lota.
"On top of that, around one sixth of residents don't have a car - well above the Brisbane average - making it imperative that the area has an easily accessible bank."
Mr McAnalen said he had door-knocked hundreds of local houses and businesses, talked to people in the street and shopping centre and done the rounds of the local boat harbour in a concerted effort to get to know the community he will be serving.
"The philosophy of 'knowing the customer' is absolutely essential in banking and something which has widely been missing from the industry for far too long," he said.
"My customers can rest easy that I'll be here for the long run, giving me the chance to really get to know them and their banking needs and provide them with the best financial services possible.
"For the first time in years they can come in and actually talk face-to-face with their bank manager."
Manly is the 10th new Bank of Queensland branch opened this year, the first of 34 new branches the Bank will open around Queensland by 2004.
Before Christmas, Bank of Queensland will also open branches in Paddington, Mooloolaba, Currimundi, Harbour Town and West Burleigh.