WESTPAC'S first dedicated agribusiness centre in Australia was officially opened in Naracoorte last week helping its agribusiness and commercial customers in the Limestone Coast grow and prosper.
Regional General Manager SA-NT Brad Higgins said the Limestone Coast region was an economic important area and home to a diversity of agricultural activity, and Naracoorte was a central location for the hub.
"Almost a third of SA's beef cattle output comes from the area, there's prime lamb and wool production, as well as a wide range of horticulture, viticulture, dairying, forestry, and fishing... all helping to drive the region's prosperity," he said.
The Naracoorte Agribusiness Centre which is located in the same building as its one time Westpac bank branch is not handling retail banking but Mr Higgins said it was a central base for the region's local agribusiness managers, Phillip Lowe, Chris Moyle, Tom Rymill, and Lorraine Napper.
The four managers are all long-time locals in the region.
"Westpac is committed to ensuring its agribusiness customers have access to the banking services they need in order to thrive in this region," he said.
While much agribusiness banking occurs at the customer's place of business, Mr Higgins said customers could often benefit from specialist advice from staff outside the region.
The Naracoorte Agribusiness Centre is equipped to facilitate this through 'ConnectNow' videoconferencing technology which allows Westpac to overcome some of the challenges in managing the banking experience across long distances.
"For customers, this means better access to services such as interest risk management, foreign exchange, and commodity risk management," Mr Higgins said.
"If a customer has a more complex need, staff can draw upon additional expertise through this technology."