MORE than 250 farmers piled into the Leongatha Memorial Hall late last month to celebrate agricultural banking specialist Rabobank’s 10-year anniversary in the local area.
Guests – including the bank’s clients and local professionals from across southern Gippsland – enjoyed a sit-down dinner on February 22 and heard from keynote speakers, including inspirational farmer Sam Bailey and Rabobank’s Country Banking executive Geoff Firth.
Sam and Jenny Bailey shared their inspirational story of overcoming adversity following Mr Bailey’s spinal injury which saw him become a C6/C7 quadriplegic, as he continues to farm in northern New South Wales, fly an ultralight plane and travel around the country as a role model to others.
Demonstrating resilience and sheer determination to follow one’s dreams no matter the obstacles, the Baileys’ message resonated with the guests around the room.
Geoff Firth spoke about partnering with, and supporting, the excellent primary producers in South Gippsland, with the Leongatha branch building a client base which “numbers some of the best and most successful primary producers in the region”.
“In the 10 years since the Leongatha branch was established, not only has Rabobank grown significantly – we now have 61 branches around Australia – but the Leongatha branch itself has had impressive growth and development,” he said.
Mr Firth said the bank’s partnership with its clients, together with the focus on employing agribusiness banking staff with a strong knowledge and experience in agriculture had driven this growth.
“The Leongatha team have a combined total of 180 years’ experience in agribusiness between them, with every member of the team passionate about agriculture and agribusiness and very much part of the local community,” he said.
Established in 2008, Leongatha was the seventh Victorian branch to be opened by Rabobank, with 14 offices across the state including branches in nearby Sale and Warragul.
Part of the world’s leading specialist food and agribusiness bank, the global Rabobank Group, Rabobank Australia is one of the country’s largest agricultural lenders and a major provider of corporate and business banking services to food and agribusiness sector.
Also attending the 10-year anniversary celebrations was Rabobank’s Leongatha branch manager Jamie Murphy (who also performed the MC duties on the night), founding branch manager Scott Price and founding staff members Russell Mann, Amanda Calder and Geoff Smith.
Mr Price is now head of relationship management for southern Victoria and Tasmania, while Mr Mann is the Warragul branch manager, Ms Calder is a senior analyst in Leongatha and Mr Smith retired in 2011 after 15 years with Rabobank.
Scott Price, who has been working with farmers in the local region for over 30 years, said “being able to lead and build a team over the last decade at Rabobank has been a highlight”, with the Leongatha team one of the most successful and largest Rabobank branches in Australia.
“We opened our doors in Leongatha at a time when many services were moving out of smaller towns into bigger centres,” he said, “and 10-years later we are now the leading agribusiness lender in the region”.
Also celebrating the decade milestone was Rabobank regional manager for southern Victoria and Tasmania Hamish McAlpin and the other members of Leongatha’s branch – rural managers Craig Hoober, Matthew Long and Tracey Hollingworth and finance specialists Gordon Morrison, Jess Holland, Danielle Hilliar and Zoe Rotthier. Staff from the Warragul and Sale branches were also in attendance.
250 farmers celebrate 10 years of Rabobank