Kyabram Free Press
Ben is still kicking goals
Whether it has been with a cricket bat, irrigation pipe, calculator or football in his hand, Ben Langley has always managed to find a way of kicking a goal.
He is continuing to do so in his current role as the Bendigo Community Bank branch manager at Kyabram.
Ben has managed to further build on the reputation he says he inherited courtesy of his father’s sporting and business connections in the town.
“I think because Dad was well known, and liked, it made life a bit easier for me,” Ben said from his office at the soon to be six-year-old community bank branch.
Ben is the youngest of four siblings who arrived in Kyabram with their parents, Noel (known as “Bones”) and Jean Langley, when he was a primary schooler.
Noel Langley coached football at Kyabram, Girgarre and Stanhope – including a 1971 Kyabram District Football League Mcnamara Medal – ran an irrigation business for 25 years in Kyabram and up until the early 2000s had been a pillar of the Campaspe community.
“Mum and Dad moved to Bendigo about 13 years ago,” Ben said.
When the new community bank branch in Kyabram was looking for a manager it wasn’t any surprise the name Langley soon found its way to the top of the heap.
“We opened the doors here in March 2016. I was the first manager of the branch,” Ben said.
Now living in Moama with wife Penny and their three children, 17-year-old Connor, Jorja, 14, and eight-year-old Bronte, Ben looks back fondly on his formative years in the town.
His three siblings all live elsewhere, sisters Tara and Carla in Torquay and Bendigo, while elder brother Matt is in Darwin.
Ben’s first job out of school was, in fact, with his father’s business before moving into the finance industry with Banksia and the financial planning arm of M&S Accounting.
He completed the obligatory football in winter and cricket in summer with Kyabram and Fire Brigade.
His first senior game was under Goulburn Valley League legend Des Campbell in 1993, when Kyabram was unbeaten through the homeand-away season, only to lose finals in successive weeks.
He captained Kyabram for two seasons late in the 1990s after having played in the 1996 premiership with the club. Both years the team made the finals, but couldn’t repeat the flag success.
His final two seasons, 1998 and 1999, were interrupted by knee injuries, which led to his retirement as a 26-year-old. He finished with more than 100 games for the club.
Ben moved to Bendigo in 2001 to work with the Bendigo Bank.
It’s now 20 years that he has been with the company, having started as a teller before taking on a branch management role.
“My first community bank job was as manager at Tongala, but I’ve also worked at Echuca, and now Kyabram,” he said.
The realisation of a community bank in Kyabram came as a result of strong support from locals.
“To get a community branch up and running there needs to be a certain amount of shareholder capital raised,” he said.
“There is certainly a sense of ownership with the community bank.”
Ben works closely with the branch’s eight board members, which include chairman Vince Curtis, draftsman Dale Denham, accountant Brent Sutton, Dr Michael Mcqueen Thompson, pharmacist Rory Kerr, farmer Ian Hamono, G-M Water accountant John De Girolamo and businessman David Blake.
“There is a cross section of the community represented on the board,” Ben said.
“The board meets monthly. I think we’ve only had two changes in the six years of the branch and only one staff change in that whole time.”
With, in many instances, the big four banks moving out of country towns, or reducing hours, the Bendigo Bank’s role has increased in regional towns.
The Kyabram branch has exceeded the initial expectations of the board, with the community buyin described as “brilliant” by the branch manager.
“It was initially a leap of faith, to take on the manager’s role having come from an established branch,” Ben said.
“It probably has worked very well in terms of the contacts I had by growing up in town.
“We’ve contributed to a lot in the five years: the tower painting project, Warramunda Village, the fauna park, along with developments at the Northern Oval and other community and sporting organisations.
“And our team of Jude Sperling, Jenny Johnson, Melissa Roberts, Alistair Wall and Meghan Wardrop have been terrific. Having the consistency at board level, and with the staff, has definitely helped.”
Weekends, in winter at least, are spent at Picola, where all three of his children play their sport.
The three Langley children are at Echuca College and Echuca’s 208 primary school.
Fishing provides Ben with a break from the finance industry, but lockdown has certainly presented its fair share of challenges.
“Often the trip from Kyabram to Moama took in excess of an hour due to having to wait in vehicle queues to get across the bridge,” he said.
“I think the longest it’s taken me from Ky was an hour and a half.”
Ben said he saw a strong future for the community bank as people continued to recognise that it was a long-term relationship the board was looking for with the community.