Long queues of prospective customers and interested locals lined Chanter St in Berrigan on Monday for the opening of the new Bendigo Bank branch.
Located at the Berrigan Shire offices, it is the only bank located in Berrigan and replaces the NAB which closed in July 2017.
The opening was attended by more than 40 Berrigan locals, Berrigan Shire staff and councillors, and Bendigo Bank staff.
Branch manager Chris Noack said it was an exciting day for the community.
‘‘The community needs basic amenities such as banking and shopping, and this new branch will help keep people in town and supporting local business,’’ he said.
‘‘We previously opened an agency in Hay and due to the popularity with the town’s community members, we have been able to now create a stand alone branch.
‘‘This bank opening is also just the start of something big in Berrigan.’’
Calling Monday’s opening an ‘‘historic day’’ for Berrigan and the shire, Berrigan Shire Mayor Matt Hannan said it was the culmination of a campaign led by council and the community.
‘‘It is through good work from the council and community that we were able to secure the Bendigo Bank branch in Berrigan,’’ he said at the opening.
‘‘Well done to all the Berrigan Shire staff for their hard work over the past few months.’’
The Berrigan branch will be managed by the Coleambally Community Bank and will be a fully functioning bank with the exception of being able to process loan application.
Berrigan customers will have full access to a business banker, financial planner and agribusiness manager.
The Coleambally Community Bank, in conjunction with Western Riverina Community Finance Service, also has branches in Jerilderie, Lake Cargelligo, Hay and Condobolin.
‘‘The Coleambally managed branches employ more than 20 people across the region, which is pretty good for small communities which do not have populations over 1000,’’ Mr Noack said.
Mr Noack has spent more than 32 years in the banking sector, including 18 years with Bendigo Bank.
He said the biggest change in the banking industry has been the introduction and improvement of online banking.
‘‘More and more people are moving to online to do their banking,’’ he said.
‘‘In saying that we still must have a local branch because face to face interaction is important.’’
The Berrigan branch will be open 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday.