Bank of Queensland today re-introduced face-to-face banking to Mooloolaba, opening its 104th branch and reversing the tide of closures to which the Sunshine Coast community has fallen victim over the past five years.
The growing coastal community was especially hard hit by the Big Banks' program of closures throughout the 1990s, losing three of the 15 branches closed on the Sunshine Coast.
Bank of Queensland's newest branch - situated firmly in the heart of Mooloolaba's commercial centre - was described by Maroochy Shire Councillor Joe Natoli as a "concrete display of faith in the local community", and is the second of three new Bank of Queensland branches on the Coast this month.
Queensland's home-grown bank will open another branch at Currimundi next week, with Caloundra City Mayor Don Aldous doing the honours. The Bank's new branch in Maleny, opened last week by Federal MP for Longman Mal Brough amid much local fanfare, is already receiving tremendous community support.
The three new branches will increase to 12 Bank of Queensland's network of branches on the Coast, representing a significant expansion of its activities in the region and a major investment in the local communities.
Mooloolaba Branch owner-manager Brenden Brial said he was proud to be able to bring friendly, face-to-face banking back to his home town. "I'm looking forward to being able to offer the sort of top-class banking services which have been missing from our community for too long," Mr Brial said.
"In particular, the steadily growing business fraternity has been largely ignored by the other banks, an unfortunate situation which could have seriously impacted on the area's economic growth and which we will rectify today.
"As a small business owner myself, I appreciate the needs and concerns of local businesses and realise they often need an understanding and experienced bank manager to help them meet their full commercial potential.
"My branch will be a one-stop financial services shop, offering not only retail and commercial loans approved right here in the branch, but also a full suite of insurance and wealth management services in association with our strategic partners Royal Sun Alliance and ABN-AMRO Morgans.
"Although face-to-face banking is the cornerstone of my branch, customers will also be able to access our new ATM when installed shortly as well as the Bank's Phone and recently upgraded Internet banking services," Mr Brial said.
"Mooloolaba can rest assured that I and my branch are here for the long-term - because I own the branch I am here to stay, unlike the "imported" managers at other banks who seem to come and go through a revolving door."
Bank of Queensland Managing Director David Liddy said the Bank would continue to support local communities throughout Queensland by opening branches, even in areas other banks had abandoned.
"Our growth program of opening 34 new branches throughout the State by 2004 has been enormously rewarding, both for the many communities which now have real face-to-face banking services and also for the Bank in its pursuit to become the best regional bank in Australia," Mr Liddy said.
"It is a win-win situation, and a wise policy which we will continue to expedite."