GALLERY: Fairy Meadow's Bendigo Bank built on hard work

THE Bendigo Community Bank at Fairy Meadow celebrated its 10th birthday recently.

The evening included donations to organisations such as The Disability Trust, Fairy Meadow Surf Life Saving Club, Wollongong Hawks School Hoops Program, The Aerial Patrol, Mount Ousley, Balgownie and Russell Vale Public Schools, The House With No Steps, Wollongong Suicide Prevention Network and others.

Fairy Meadow branch manager Mark Tyson said he had only been with the branch for 18 months but described it as the best 18 months of his career.

"I put that down to my board and also to my staff. They are the best staff I have ever worked with. All their hard work has contributed to a stellar year for us. At last count our business is close to $90 million and we have 2500 customers on our books. We have come from nothing to that over 10 years, which is a fantastic effort. And that has been made possible with the help of the entire community."

Mr Tyson said that was why the branch had been able to support so many organisations.

"Over the last two years I have been at the branch we have contributed just over $100,000 to our local community," he said.

"And the contributions of our staff at Fairy Meadow has helped the Bendigo organisation become a major retail partner of the Genes for Jeans organisation of the Children's Medical Research Institute of Australia. Our little branch here in Fairy Meadow actually topped the donations for the country."

Mr Tyson said the bank started with a number of local residents such as Leigh Stewart and Flavio Corbanese, who was the committee chair at the time, publicly talking about the need for a financial institution after others had pulled out.

Mr Tyson thanked all board members for unpaid hours and dedication to getting the community bank off the ground and working so well that it had steadily grown in the suburb for over a decade.

Mr Tyson thanked Lucia Zanetti who had made the initial phone call to Bendigo Bank.

"That phone call formed the basis of an idea which germinated into something you see today," he said.

"She also pounded the pavement and got support for the community bank."

Mr Tyson said without her efforts and those of many community minded people like her, the branch would not be in Fairy Meadow today.

Ms Zanetti stood down from the board after a decade's service and was applauded by all the members in attendance and all the board members past and present.

He also singled out Frank Cardamone for being the backbone of the board in recent years.

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