Serge passes the baton

Published 12:00pm 21 December 2021

Serge passes the baton
Words by Kylie Knight

The man who has been at the helm of Community Bank Margate for more than 13 years has retired, drawing a sense of pride of what he and his team have achieved but also confidence in the future.

Serge Paggiaro was a founding member of the bank, which is a Bendigo Bank franchise and was started by locals when all the banks in Margate closed.

“The bank opened in 2005, December. That was a big deal for us because we had been working for about three years prior in getting it going and establishing it,” Serge says.

“We put a big effort into doing all the searching and finding out if it was viable or not. It got off (the ground) and got off (the ground) quite well.

“Basically, every bank in Margate closed up shop and our president back then Bill Hoogwaerts … he and someone else wanted to open a bank. They approached a credit union and someone suggested Bendigo because Bendigo had a franchise model. They met with Bendigo and it went from there. It’s worked out well.”

Community need was the driving force behind the bank’s launch and it is still core to how it operates today.

“We call ourselves a community bank. We have over the past 16 years, given away $800,000 to local charities and groups around the place. That’s something we do each and every year. We have a series of grants we hand out. We award a scholarship each year, $2500 to a student,” he says.

This contribution to the community has been a highlight for Serge as has moving the bank to Margate Village Shopping Centre, paying the first dividend and reaching $100 million in footings.

Serge has lived on the peninsula since 1964, was an inaugural student at Clontarf Beach State High School and ran two travel agencies before retiring from full-time work.

He says getting involved in Community Bank Margate came at the right time, but it is now time to focus on his health and pass the baton on to his fellow board members.

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