THE Gosnells Bendigo Bank branch has defended itself after a move to Canning Vale was not advertised before its annual general meeting last year.
The community bank recently notified shareholders it was moving from its home of 17 years on Albany Highway to The Vale Shopping Centre.
The bank had previously entertained the possibility of opening a second branch in Canning Vale in 2018, but instead opted to move.
However, the prospective move was not on the agenda at the annual general meeting in November.
Bank secretary Jim Moran said the move was discussed at the meeting, but because the item did not appear on the agenda, it was not included in the meeting’s minutes.
Chairman Ray Norvill said the bank had still been hoping to open the second branch when last year’s meeting took place, but admitted the move should have been raised.
“You can always say there were things you could have done possibly, there’s always that possibility with hindsight, but we had been talking about a move there for years,” he said.
Mr Norvill said the bank decided to proceed with the move around Christmas time as it represented an opportunity for the bank to improve its financial position.
“The changing demographics within the City of Gosnells boundary indicates a growing population, both residential and commercial, in the western reaches of the City,” he said.
“The competitive nature of the banking world continues to be ever changing and it is imperative the branch maintains and increases business volume and strives to maintain and improve market share.”
He said the bank agonised over the decision, but felt vindicated.
“We’ve done our own research, we’ve asked other business, everything pointed towards sustainability being achieved easier by moving to Canning Vale,” he said.
“It’s the wisest thing for us to do for the benefit of shareholders and customers.”
Founding shareholder devastated to see bank go
While Mr Norvill said the majority of feedback the bank had received was positive, founding shareholder Sylvia Alberts was devastated to see the bank move.
“It is the Gosnells Community Bank, not the City of Gosnells Community Bank,” she said.
“The reason they opened it was because banks were closing in Gosnells. Some people say it’s progress, but I just think it’s wrong, that’s not what we invested for.”
Ms Alberts said she and many others had worked hard to get the bank running and when it left, it would leave just one bank in the town centre.
“If Westpac goes, there’s not a bank in Gosnells at all, the BankWest has gone and the ANZ has closed down. We got the bank because banks were closing down in Gosnells,” she said.
Mr Norvill emphasised the bank was only moving eight minutes’ drive away and would continue to serve City of Gosnells residents and community.
“It’s never been our intention to leave Gosnells, all our community activities are involved in the city wide area,” he said.