An Australian-first collaboration between a tertiary and financial institution will create the Deakin University Community Bank® initiative.
The unique banking service is the product of a collaboration between Deakin University and Bendigo Bank that will return profits to the university community for programs and capital projects and more.
Deakin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Jane den Hollander and Bendigo Bank managing director Mike Hirst jointly announced the new initiative earlier this month, which will operate under the bank’s Community Bank® model.
“This innovative collaboration was borne from Deakin’s mission to constantly improve the experience we provide the communities we serve, and to build external partnerships that add value to all involved, socially and financially,” Professor den Hollander said.
“In a world where banking is an essential service each of us must pay for, Bendigo Bank’s Community Bank® model is unique because it takes its revenue and returns it to local communities.
“The real benefit lies in the long-term return to the Deakin community, through the creation of a sustainable income stream that will grow as the business grows and will be invested back into meaningful projects.”
Professor den Hollander said that by choosing to bank with the Deakin University Community Bank® initiative, the university’s staff, students, alumni and stakeholders will be contributing to the profits that could, for example, one day fund new scholarships to help young people follow their dreams, grants for researchers to become world leaders in their fields, and sustainable capital projects that make our university the best place to work and study.
Traditionally, Community Bank® companies invest locally into services and people, through projects like scholarship funds, skate parks, community buses, sports stadiums and health centres.
Since the model was established in 1998 more than $148 million in banking profits have been reinvested in this way.
Bendigo Bank boss Mike Hirst said the expansion of the Community Bank® model into a university recognised that community wasn’t just bound by geography — a town or a suburb — but was also created through shared interests and objectives.
“The announcement is the culmination of a long engagement with the Deakin community about the value they see in a community banking service and how it could support their goals,” he said.
“What we heard overwhelmingly was that they see this as a win-win, a true example of shared value.
“It means that for staff, students and alumni, just by doing their everyday banking through the Deakin University Community Bank® initiative, they can contribute to supporting projects that matter to them and their university.”
Bendigo Bank and Deakin University signed a Memorandum of Understanding in January 2015, with collaborative projects since then including a rural and regional employment development program and a scholarship fund for country students.