Frequently Asked Questions about Warburton and Yarra Junction Community Bank® branches and the Upper Yarra Community Enterprise (UYCE)

  1. We are a locally-managed, independently-owned business – we operate a franchise branch of Bendigo Bank.
  2. We employ local people and contribute to the prosperity of the local economy.
  3. We limit returns to our shareholders to up to 20% of profit. The remaining up to 80% is reinvested in the community. In contrast, conventional businesses typically only pay returns to their shareholders.
Our mission is to reinvest up to 80% of profit back into the community. This profit-for-purpose model makes us different to other banks and allows us to support community-building initiatives that benefit everyone.
  1. We’re open on Saturday mornings.
  2. We have long-term staff who know you by name.
  3. We provide the services of a Community Development worker to engage and help develop community-based projects.
In 1998, only one major bank remained in Warburton. A steering committee was formed to assess the ongoing financial needs of the community and consider alternatives to ensure banking services remained within the town. The Community Bank® model, although relatively new (only one branch had been opened at the time) was considered a sustainable banking model that offered additional value in its profit-for-purpose model, which reinvested profits in the community.
In 1999, a public company was formed to operate the planned Warburton Community Bank® branch, and later the Yarra Junction Community Bank® branch. The community was invited to own the company by purchasing shares. Almost 600 community-minded members are shareholders. Shares in the Community-owned Company can be purchased by anyone with a strong connection to the district.
Everyday residents of the Upper Yarra Region. Mums and dads, business owners, community groups – anyone who is legally entitled to owns shares is welcome to invest in the venture.
Its key purpose is to operate the two Community Bank® branches. This includes employing and training local staff, paying all the bills and ensuring the branches operate at the high standard required by industry regulators.
Yes, we are a branch of Bendigo Bank but as our name indicates we are a Community-owned franchise branch rather than a Bendigo Bank-owned branch. Bendigo Bank still provides the banking licence; they manage our deposit funds and oversee our lending procedures according to strict legal requirements. This sharing of risk and reward is how our local branches earn their way.
Our Board of volunteer Directors determine how much profit has been generated each year and pay the shareholders up to 20% of that amount as a dividend. The remaining up to 80% is distributed through community sponsorships and donations. Community organisations are invited to submit their sponsorship proposals in any of the four rounds each year.
Approximately $400,000 is given away each year. We have given more than $3.4 million since 2000.
We’ve have supported more than 300 groups since 2000. (See Sponsorship Recipients.) We support a diverse range of activities and organisations that promote community participation, prosperity and inclusiveness.
Your banking with Bendigo Bank will only benefit your community if your account is based at either the Warburton or Yarra Junction Community Bank® branch. So, it doesn’t matter if your accounts were originally set up at Alphington or Timbuktu, it just takes a simple signature on one form to move your accounts ‘home’ to your community. Just pop in to either the Warburton or Yarra Junction Community Bank® branch to arrange. It only takes a minute but the benefits to your community can last forever. Why? Because every time you bank local, the amount of money given to the community in sponsorships increases. Bank local – benefit local.
The more our customer base grows, the more money is generated into the sponsorship pool. Simply bring your business to our branches, such as:

  • Your everyday accounts and investments
  • Home loans and personal loans
  • Insurance and other financial products
  • Credit Cards
  • Business Banking
More than twenty people, including branch managers and staff, the UYCE team, and our voluntary Board members, who all reside in the Upper Yarra Valley.
You can access a complete set of Annual Reports on our website (see Shareholders) or call 03 5966 9028.