The Bendigo and Adelaide Bank group that operates today is the culmination of more than 80 different organisations that have come together since 1858. It’s one of the ten largest banks that operates in Australia, with a market capitalisation of more than $5 billion and $112.5 billion worth of assets (correct at the time of writing). The current iteration has existed since 2007, when Bendigo Bank and Adelaide Bank merged.

Bendigo bank in 2023

Along with the likes of Suncorp, Macquarie Bank and Bank of Queensland, Bendigo & Adelaide Bank is part of the second tier of Australian banks, operating at a much smaller scale than the big four. Between them, CommBank, Westpac, NAB and ANZ hold roughly 75% of all residential mortgages in Australia, one of the most consolidated banking sectors in the world.

Bendigo played a key role in the 2022/23 saga of ANZ’s attempted acquisition of Suncorp’s banking division. The larger bank’s proposed acquisition was to build presence in Queensland and help ANZ scale up to help it better compete against the other majors (at the time of writing, ANZ is the smallest of the big four by market capitalization).

The competition regulator, the ACCC, did not agree, and in its decision, cited a competing proposal from Bendigo to acquire Suncorp as one that would better serve Australian consumers.

“The Bendigo Merger Counterfactual would likely create a larger second-tier bank that would be better placed to grow its market share through increased competition and trigger a stronger competitive response from the major banks,” the regulator wrote.

At the time of writing ANZ is challenging this through the Australian Competition Tribunal.

Community focus

Community banking is key to Bendigo’s model: towns establish and run their own branches in partnership with the bank, which has established 324 branches throughout Australia. Since 1998, more than $320 million worth of profits from these ventures has been reinvested into local communities.

In Bendigo’s 2023 Sustainability report, CEO Marnie Baker said the bank would not deviate from its commitment to regional Australia.

“Our connection to community continues to remain core to our purpose,” Ms Baker said.

“We know that local communities thrive when local businesses and enterprises flourish.

“The Bank’s philanthropic arm, the Community Enterprise Foundation, provided over 1,300 grants to worthy projects including essential disaster recovery initiatives.”

Bendigo also claims it was the first Australian bank to offer a green loan product, where customers could borrow money at reduced rates to spend on emission-saving technology like solar panels or electric vehicles. The bank has pledged to reduce absolute emissions by 95% (with 2020 as the baseline) by 2040 as part of its BENZero approach to addressing climate change.