Bendigo Community Bank shares to trade on BSX

A pilot scheme operated by the Bendigo Stock Exchange will enable shareholders in Bendigo Bank's Community Banks to trade their shares. A small number of community banks will be listed on the BSX, with the objective of eventually listing all the banks in the network. Members have been asked to submit expressions of interest if they wish to participate in the scheme.

Since the first two Bendigo Bank Community Banks were established in June 1998, 72 more have been set up and another 30 are in the pipeline. Until now, shareholders have been able to sell their shares to people listed on a registry held by the bank's board, but they have not been able to trade them. BSX chairman Michael McCartney says that allowing shareholders to trade will give them more flexibility and enable them to realise the value of their holdings.

Bendigo Bank's managing director Rob Hunt said it was always the intention of the bank to create a trading mechanism for shareholders.

Generally, a community bank has from 250 to 400 shareholders who belong to the local area. Each holder owns shares valued at between $100 and $10,000 and can hold a maximum of 10 per cent of the total shares on issue. Rob Hunt said that as many of the companies are now making substantial surpluses, it is necessary to protect investors by establishing a transparent process by which their investments can be evaluated and realised.