JULY 2018 | Cody Handley
NEW BRANCH manager for Deloraine and Districts Community Bank, Simon Rootes, has worked for Bendigo Bank since he was eighteen years old, starting out as a teller.
Simon grew up in Westbury, where he attended Hagley Farm Primary, with his mother teaching at Deloraine High School.
Simon spent a lot of his younger years at his grandparents’ farm at Whitemore which ran beef and dairy cattle. “It’s good to have something you can relate to people with. Many of our local customers here are farmers,” he said.
“I enjoy lending money to help people achieve their dreams or assisting people to get their finances in order at a young age. I also hold a financial planning diploma, so assisting people restructure their finances to get better results is a passion of mine.”
The Deloraine and Districts Community Bank have operated for thirteen years, with Simon’s predecessor Darren Rumble at the helm for ten of those years. Simon started working for the Community Bank in May 2016 in a relief position before being offered a permanent role.
“Coming back to Deloraine gave me a new lease on life,” he said. “Our bank is community owned so that means that fifty percent of profits go back into the community. Bendigo is the only bank in Australia that runs the community model. It’s great to see that community branches like ours have taken over the corporate model in recent years.”
“We are our own entity that is in partnership with Bendigo. The aim for us is about getting our name recognised as ‘a different place’ whose main focus is to benefit our local community members.”
The Community Bank has been involved in many great projects, such as funding the pool heating and therapy spa for Giant Steps, a commitment of $250,000 over five years for the Deloraine and District Recreation Precinct, and a $4,000 grant for Grenoch Home to purchase ipods so residents could enjoy music from their younger days. The Community Bank also sponsored this year’s Junior Beef Expo, supporting the next generation of cattle farmers.
Since opening in Deloraine, the Community Bank has seen $1.3 million go back into the Meander Valley area. Simon said he would like to see that number total $3 million by 2021.
In fact, Simon said the Community Bank are looking to further reinvest in the community and are offering a second grant round this year for community projects in late July/early August. Simon invites anyone who knows of a worthwhile project to call into the Branch to find out more.
For leisure, Simon enjoys fishing and has just purchased a forty acre property with his wife, where they are going to run cattle and horses like his grandparents did.
Photo | Mike Moores