Bank of Queensland has shown its absolute confidence in the Gold Coast economy with the opening today of a second new branch inside a month, this time in fast developing West Burleigh.
The new branches will be followed by the opening next week of a specialist business banking centre in the commercial hub of Bundall, a great boost for and a strong show of faith in the bullish local economy.
Bank of Queensland West Burleigh will cater not only for the area's growing population, but its ever-increasing number of small and medium businesses and light industries.
In recognition of the economic significance of the Bank's expansion on the Coast, the branch was officially opened by the Minister for State Development, The Hon. Tom Barton, MP.
The Harbour Town branch was opened by Gold Coast Mayor Gary Baildon last week.
Bank of Queensland is reversing the program of closures by the Big Banks - which saw 34 branches close up and down the Coast in the past five years - and is restoring easily accessible face-to-face banking to local communities.
The two new branches will increase the Bank's network on the Coast to 13, representing a significant expansion of its activities in the region and a major investment in the local community.
Bank of Queensland's three new facilities on the Gold Coast will directly create 14 local jobs.
Minister Tom Barton said the detrimental impact of the 253 branch closures throughout Queensland over the past five years had been widely felt in the economy.
"It is encouraging to see a bank opening branches rather than closing them and which is willing to throw its support behind local communities, in particular the local businesses which underpin our economy and our way of life," Mr Barton said.
"Banks are an absolutely essential service and are frequently the anchor points of local shopping centres and commercial areas.
"Face-to-face banking is absolutely critical for most businesses - simply having a bank nearby can save them hundreds of valuable hours every year in doing their banking.
"I congratulate Bank of Queensland on its foresight and confidence in our communities in expanding and improving its banking services on the Coast and throughout the State.
"Local businesses will benefit from the added advantage of having a bank manager who is a small business owner himself and understands their needs and concerns."
West Burleigh branch owner-manager, Phil Imhoff, brings to the branch 13 years' experience in both retail and business banking, most recently as NAB's Regional Business Banking Manager on the Gold Coast.
Supporting his wide-ranging experience in business, including managing one of Queensland's largest printing companies, Mr Imhoff has tertiary qualifications in both Business and Banking & Finance.
"The big banks really have neglected small businesses, particularly those owned by Mums and Dads," he said.
"Everyone I speak to comments about the lack of service and minimal personal contact offered by the big banks.
"I will be serving my business clients directly, and can promise them that I will be here looking after them for years to come - because I own the branch I am here to stay.
"As a small business owner myself, I appreciate their needs and realise that they need an understanding, experienced bank manager to help them meet their full potential.
"My branch can take care of many of their financial needs in one go, as we deal with not only retail and commercial loans, but also insurance and wealth management services in association with our strategic partners Royal & Sun Alliance and ABN-AMRO Morgans.
"I hope to become a critical element in the success of local businesses."