Bank on community

TWO new community banks could open in the Whitsundays before the end of the year.

The banks – in Cannonvale and Proserpine – have moved a step closer following ‘encouraging results' from a recent feasibility study that indicated that demand in the region could support two banks.

More than 310 Whitsunday residents have pledged their support for the banks, which would be owned by its shareholders.

Up to 20 per cent of the profit can be paid to the shareholders and 80 per cent of the profit must go back to the community every year including sporting clubs, disadvantaged people, community groups and facilities for the elderly.

Chairman of the Whitsunday Community Bank steering committee Jeff Law said more shareholders were still needed to move onto the next stage, which is a prospectus launch.

People interested in becoming a shareholder sign a pledge form stating their intention to purchase shares to a certain value once the prospectus is issued.

“Following encouraging results from the recent feasibility study, which was carried out by an independent company, the Whitsunday community looks set to celebrate the opening of two Community Bank facilities some time this year,” said Mr Law.

“With the expanded business plan taking us from one bank to two, the committee is actively seeking more shareholders to move onto the prospectus launch.

“I would like to thank the community for their early support for this venture and look forward to launching our share offer on the closing of the share numbers required.”

Mr Law said 620,000 shares had already been pledged and a further 180,000 were needed, especially in the Cannonvale area.

“Two-thirds of our pledgees are from Proserpine – we desperately need more pledgees from Cannonvale,” he said.

Pledge forms are available at the Canegrowers Building, Main Street, Proserpine, or by phoning Jeff Law on 4945 2289.

Mr Law said the Community Bank in Bendigo, which opened in 1998, was just about to give its millionth dollar back to the community.

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