Listening To The Bush
For the past couple of years we have continually heard from people in country regions that the banks have forsaken them through the closure of branches and that they did not understand the needs of rural folk when it came to banking.
In general the response from the banks has been that country branch closures were an unfortunate economic reality. If branches were not profitable why should they keep them open. This has caused much dissatisfaction amongst the rural community towards the major banks and provided an opportunity for Bendigo Bank to initiate a rural banking project that appears to be proving quite successful.
However it appears that Westpac / Bank of Melbourne have also not forgotten about the special banking needs of people from the bush. Today’s Financial Review has the recently merged entity advertising for a Head of Country Banking to “drive strategies addressing the 21st Century banking needs of country Victorians”. This newly created position is described as requiring someone who will “articulate, drive and manage the Bank’s total country strategy, reflecting a comprehensive understanding of the banking needs of all country customers”.
This would lead one to assume that we will probably see Westpac / Bank of Melbourne about to undertake a higher profile in the rural market and look to attracting disenchanted rural customers from their competitors