After nearly 20 years as the Romsey and Lancefield Bendigo Bank director, Russell Pattinson is calling it a day.

Mr Pattinson joined the bank’s board in the voluntary position as the director in June 2000. Not long after he joined, a Bendigo Bank branch opened in Lancefield in 2001 before a Romsey branch was established in 2006.

“The banks have been really important for the community,” he said. “In the late 1990’s, Lancefield was struggling as a town.

“All the banks had left, we didn’t have a football club [and] there were hardly any great shops in the town.

“A combination of the community bank starting up really revitalised the town and the bank can take a bit of credit for that.”

During his time as director, the bank has provided $1.65 million worth of grants and sponsorships to local groups, clubs and organisations. “We provide grant money to schools, CFA … everything from playgrounds to kindergartens,” Mr Pattinson said.

“The only reason we can give out $150,000 or $200,000 a year in grants and sponsorships is because we have customers supporting us in both Romsey and Lancefield. “The more customers we have the greater our opportunity is to provide additional funds back into the community.”

Mr Pattinson’s colleague Tony Ede will take over as the new director. He said he was looking forward to the challenge ahead.

“I have been on the board for a couple of years so I know the personalities and the mechanisms of the board pretty comfortably,” he said.

Mr Pattinson will spend his days running his consulting business and becoming more involved with local footy clubs.

“The company is in very good hands and I’m pleased with the progress the organisation has made over the last 20 years in establishing the Lancefield branch and then five years later the Romsey branch,” he said.