Sad day for Dookie banking service

By John Lewis

Dookie's Glenda Wilson has had a month of surprises — some good, some not so good.

A mixture of sadness and disappointment greeted her on Thursday as scores of Dookie people turned out to applaud her years of dedicated service and mark the closure of the town's only bank.

At 2 pm, Mrs Wilson closed the Bendigo Bank agency in Mary St an hour early, and prepared to shut the door for the last time when she noticed a stream of cars, some festooned with ribbons and balloons, passing along Dookie's normally quiet main street.

People were driving slowly past and honking horns to thank her for her for 25 years of dedicated financial service to community clubs, church groups, businesses and individuals.

“It's a complete surprise,” she said clutching a bunch of flowers and a farewell card on the pavement outside the little white bank building.

Cars were still driving past, drivers honking horns and passengers waving arms.

Inside, Bendigo Bank officials were waiting to sign papers and shut down a computer ending the agency tenure of Mrs Wilson and her husband Ken, after more than 20 years.

In a printed statement, Mrs Wilson said it was "with deep regret" that she and her husband were forced to close the agency.

She said a month ago she was paid a surprise visit by Bendigo Bank's regional and Shepparton managers who delivered a letter informing her of the bank's decision to terminate her agreement.

“I was very surprised by this visit as I had no knowledge whatsoever that this was an action the Bendigo Bank were planning,” she said.

Mrs Wilson and her husband began offering bank services to the town in 1995 after the National Australia Bank closed its office in Dookie.

The Wilsons first offered a bank service through IOOF and then in 1999 with Bendigo Bank from the little white building which they own, and which sits in front of their house.

Longtime Dookie resident and retired school principal Peter McManus praised Mrs Wilson's long and trusted service to the township.

“Her service will be sorely missed. She did all the banking for our community clubs, businesses and community groups as well as individuals. She also audited the accounts of many groups,” he said.

Mr McManus said he and other Dookie people would now have to drive to Shepparton to do their banking.

“It is very disappointing,” Mr McManus said.

Bendigo Bank has been contacted for comment.