Community, Career, Compassion: Bendigo Bank

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John Caruso meets a local who’s devoted her life to pursuing a childhood dream of helping the community and supporting kids who dream big.

Banks always held an air of mystery for Kerryn Vincart when she was younger. Maybe it was the grand, ornate buildings or the solemn nature of the tellers and managers as they carried out their fiduciary duties. Kerryn knew she always wanted to work in banking and today, is fulfilling that dream as branch manager for Bendigo Community Bank Tewantin-Noosa.

“What’s important about what we do here is that we try and centre ourselves at the heart of the community,” she said. “We are owned by 700 shareholders (our customers) so we’re here for – and are passionate about -the community. While we have sales KPIs, we are more focused on helping customers achieve what they want.

“When profit is calculated at the end of each financial year, we then take that profit and put up to 80% of it back into the community,” explains Kerryn.

We’re chatting in the boardroom of the Tewantin branch in Poinciana Avenue which is available for community groups to use and Kerryn points out that the bank owns its building.

“We’re here to stay,” she said. “Our branch isn’t just a service point; it’s a bustling community hub. From the boardroom to hot desks, we offer accessibility to all. This reflects our belief in fostering meaningful connections within our community.”

Where does that confidence to maintain a physical bank branch come from? What is Bendigo Bank witnessing that other financial institutes aren’t?

“There is data that shows transactions in bank branches is dropping, however our data indicates that we’re not only maintaining traffic and transactions, but with a slight increase in that area,” Kerryn said. “People are starting to understand the Community Bank story, our social conscience, and are making an informed decision to choose us.

“Customers are looking for banks that support the community and that’s our point of difference. Physically visiting a branch or supporting a financial institution is a decision that is conscious across all generations.

“Environmental sustainability is also important and to this end, our head office has a dedicated climate action department and Bendigo Bank doesn’t get involved with fossil fuels.”

Students are also benefitting through Bendigo Community Bank’s support of Altitude Scholarships, a program that IN Noosa Magazine has supported since its original inception as Noosa Chances.

The scholarships offer young students who have the talent, drive and passion to make a difference in the world by providing ‘a hand up, not a hand out’ to assist with equipment such as laptops, textbooks, or support such as tutoring.

“We’ve sponsored five students so far are able to help these gifted and driven kids achieve their dreams and watch their confidence bloom,” she said.

Recipients include Ava Fitzgerald who’s studying chemistry, biology, maths extension, literature, philosophy, and extension English and wants to run an oncology department at a public hospital to provide affordable care to everyone as well as contribute to cancer research, especially in transitional research and the genetic factors influencing cancer susceptibility; Dane Zilian who is currently studying a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)/Master of Engineering at University of Queensland and wants to be able to say he contributed to implementing a technology or system to help countries improve themselves; Matilda Malone is focusing on more cultural aspects of her education and studying drama, film and television, and dance who would love to study musical theatre at WAPAA, NIDA or Griffith Conservatory and pursue a career in acting and/or music; Ella Ruster, a Noosa District State High School vice-captain plays netball and AFL and wants to become a veterinarian, and maybe someday play for the Sunshine Coast Lightning and the Australian Diamond; and Bellamoe Ali’s grandfather is a jazz pianist who’s having a big impact on Bellamoe’s future career pathway and she dreams of becoming a teacher and eventually, a school principal.

Altitude Scholarships CEO Brad Grieve said Bendigo Bank’s dedicated support and financial backing was helping Altitude Scholarships nurture the next generation of young leaders, by driving a culture of learning and personal growth.

Andrew Pierpoint has been a secondary school Principal for 25 years and is an Altitude Scholarships Board member and education expert, providing connections with school principals all over Australia.

He said that school provided many aspects to a student’s wholistic development – not just academic.

“Education provides connections for future employment and social structures, builds confidence and adds to the students developing social skills,” he said. “As a society, nothing is more important that providing young people with every opportunity to belong, achieve and contribute to our great country. Our youth deserve nothing less.”

Kerryn says Bendigo Bank’s support of these five students was long term and an important opportunity to help them pursue their educational dreams.

It’s a stark contrast when you think of the stuffy ‘old-school’ banks that Kerryn used to visit as a kid. Bendigo Community Bank is an example of a bank that is compassionate and with a community-oriented vision!

WANT MORE? John Caruso chats with Kerryn Vincart on our podcast, Everyone Has a Story, available now where you find all good podcasts 

About the Author /

After 30 years in radio, John now runs the Conversations IN Noosa podcast and in between being our writer, sanity checker, accounts manager, event MC, and delivery boy; he spends time with his first love, recording a daily Drive program for regional radio from home (often in his pyjamas); and presenting Saturday mornings on Hot 91.1. He has previously worked for FoxFM Melbourne, Triple M Brisbane and SeaFM, as well as managing and presenting on ABC Sunshine Coast.

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