Banking on Kangaroo Island’s future

What do school teachers, nurses, stock firms and banks have in common in relation to rural communities in Australia?

Well may we ask what life would be like without them, and Kangaroo Island is no different, if you throw in National Parks staff for good measure as well.

The fact is, they bring population, youth and character to our community, they quite often bring young families, they swell our sporting clubs, our kindies and schools.

The old adage that they bring future wives and husbands still seems to happen!

They provide wealth to the social fabric of island life.

This leads me to question why recently a KI public official and a well-known SA politician both took the opportunity to bash the Australian banks.

The Bank of China has been asked to encourage lending to KI residents as, according to these public officials, local banks are wary in some cases to do so.

Love them or hate them, our very sound financial system got us through the global financial crisis while around the world, chaos was the norm.

I find it very disappointing that such general comments are made, as risk assessments by our banks are generic across the country and not specific to KI.

Indeed, both our local resident banks have staff constantly out and about around the island and very much in tune with what is going on with both residential customers and businesses.

People in public positions would be better served by meeting with our local banks to find out the reasons why there is a lack of lending, rather than accusing them of not lending to all and sundry demands.

That is what I have done and a very different picture emerges.

Risk assessment and ability to repay are critical; indeed over the years I have had loan requests refused.

They, in hindsight, were the correct decisions, despite seeming tough at the time. 

From my perspective the banks are made up of passionate, positive people who want to enable clients to achieve their goals.

Public officials should become better informed about our local banks and their services to our community.

That’s how I see it.

- Michael Pengilly, MP

Member for Finniss