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Rural Bank and Elders celebrate 20 years of supporting Australian agribusiness

1 July 2020 |Media release

In June 2000, representatives from Elders and Bendigo Bank came together to sign an agreement that created Elders Rural Bank.

Twenty years on, the partnership between Bendigo and Adelaide Bank and Elders continues to flourish, via Rural Bank. The partnership supports farmers and helps drive prosperity for Australian agribusiness – one of the nation’s most important industries.

Over two decades, Rural Bank and Elders have worked through agricultural and finance industry challenges and realised opportunities together, alongside their customers and the agricultural community.

Since 2000, the value of Australian agriculture has doubled from $30.2 billion in 1999/2000 to $60 billion in 2018/19. Rural Bank and Elders, as agricultural banking and distribution specialists respectively, have helped farmers to expand and innovate, underpinning remarkable industry growth.

A 2019 distribution agreement ushered in a new era, embedding close to 100 Rural Bank employees in Elders branches across the country, some of whom have been with the business since the very early days of the partnership.

One of these employees is Rural Bank Senior Agribusiness Relationship Manager Tony Harrison who has worked for Elders and Rural Bank since 2007. Over this time, Mr Harrison says the partnership has only grown stronger.

“I came across to Rural Bank last year having been at Elders for 12 years. Our partnership is really what sets us apart, providing evidence-based insights that aid effective decision making, and building trusted relationships with our customers,” Mr Harrison said.

“We work to develop a close understanding of the entirety of our customer’s farm business and often act as a sounding board for their plans, ideas and hopes for the future. Many of our relationship managers live and work in the communities they support and it’s this hands-on knowledge and experience that makes all the difference in supporting the industry.”

Rural Bank CEO Alexandra Gartmann said the anniversary marks an important opportunity to celebrate the success of the partnership and the value it provides to customers.

“Rural Bank and Elders are united in our passion for Australian agriculture and this is reflected in the ongoing investment in customer-focused relationships, specialist industry insights and partnerships with key industry organisations,” Ms Gartmann said.

“A lot has changed in the past 20 years but by partnering with Elders, we’ve enhanced benefits our customers can access – financial expertise and agricultural expertise. We are very proud to be celebrating 20 years together,” Ms Gartmann concluded.

Elders CEO Mark Allison said the strength of the Elders and Rural Bank relationship lay in the embedment of both companies in rural communities. 

“Our people, just like Rural Bank employees, live and breathe agriculture and truly understand the unique set of circumstances, challenges and opportunities facing farmers,” Mr Allison said.

“The knowledge and technical expertise of our staff is complemented by the specialist products that Rural Bank provides – together we offer a much more complete service to our clients across rural and regional Australia.”

Elders Rural Bank was established as a 50/50 partnership between Elders and Bendigo Bank to provide specialist banking services to regional and rural Australia. Between 2008 and 2010, Elders sold its shareholding to Bendigo Bank and since June 2019, Rural Bank has operated as a division of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank.

To learn more about Rural Bank visit our About us page.


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Bendigo and Adelaide Bank acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of this nation and the Traditional Custodians of the land where we live, learn and work. We pay our respects to Elders past and present as it is their knowledge and experience that holds the key to the success of future generations.

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