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Wednesday, 2 November 2011
Page: 12585

Mr FLETCHER (Bradfield) (09:55): On Friday, 7 October, I was pleased to attend and speak at the opening of the new Lindfield Community Bank. The brand-new bank branch looked extremely shiny and impressive. I was joined by other local political and community representatives, including the state member for Ku-ring-gai and New South Wales Premier, the Hon. Barry O'Farrell; the chairman of Ku-ring-gai Financial Services, Mr David Langdon; and senior executives of Bendigo Bank. The opening of the Lindfield Community Bank builds on the successful establishment and operation of the Turramurra Community Bank a bit further up the Pacific Highway and also in my electorate of Bradfield.

The Turramurra Community Bank opened in 2003 and is a franchise of the Bendigo Bank, as will be the new Lindfield Community Bank. The Turramurra Community Bank was a genuine grassroots community initiative as is the Lindfield Community Bank. The Turramurra Community Bank was formed in response to concerns that the major banks were shutting their branches in Turramurra. The Turramurra Community Bank has been a considerable success. A key feature has been the leveraging of community involvement and the offering back, in turn, of significant support to the community—in the form of grants and sponsorship to local sporting and community groups, for example. As part of the community philosophy, there is a requirement for the branch, before it commences operating, to build a critical mass of local shareholders.

The same formula that was successfully used in establishing the Turramurra Community Bank is now being used for the Lindfield Community Bank. It will be operated by the same company, Ku-ring-gai Financial Services. A new fundraising process has been used to drum up local shareholders based in the Lindfield area. Experience has shown that a good shareholder base tends to convert into a good customer base. At an earlier stage in the process, an extensive survey was sent to 13,000 residents and businesses in the Lindfield area and this received a strong response.

I congratulate David Langdon, the board of Ku-ring-gai Financial Services and the hard-working general manager of Turramurra Community Bank—and now of Lindfield Community Bank—Denice Kelly. The work that David Langdon and others did nearly 10 years ago in setting up Turramurra Community Bank has brought very significant benefits to the Turramurra community and the local business sector. There is every likelihood that this very positive experience will now be replicated in Lindfield. This is a genuine community based initiative. It draws on the considerable business skills and expertise available in our community of the Upper North Shore of Sydney. It is a classic case of self-help and it is something, in my view, very much to be commended.