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April 29, 2019 - Challenger bank chiefs to speak in Innisfail

The changing banking landscape and how the new breed of ‘digital banks’ is likely to benefit regional businesses and regional investment will be discussed at a free network meeting organised by Cassowary Coast Regional Council and Innisfail Chamber of Commerce at Innisfail Brothers Leagues Club this Thursday evening (May 2).

Special guests at the event will be Tim Alexander, chief operating officer, and Kris Whitehead Managing Director Relations, from Melbourne-based Judo Bank.

Judo Bank, formerly Judo Capital, was granted a full banking licence by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority last week to become Australia’s first ‘challenger’ bank solely dedicated to small and medium-sized business (SME) lending, according to the company’s chairman Peter Hodgson.

The bank says it is challenging the one-size-fits-all approach to transform SME banking in Australia, and is modelled on the successful challenger banks in the United Kingdom and United States of America.

Cassowary Coast Regional Council Mayor John Kremastos encouraged local business operators to attend the event and familiarise themselves with the possibilities in terms of investment funding.

“The Council has done much to create incentives for investment but ultimately it is up to businesses to seek capital for investment purposes. There is a whole new world of investment funding out there and business operators need to be aware of what is available and consider the options of what will work best for them,” Cr Kremastos said. 

CCRC Director of Planning and Regional Development Manfred Boldy said this week’s event was primarily intended to be a networking opportunity for local businesses, many of which were small to medium enterprises.

“Local businesses here and in other regional areas have reported anecdotally that borrowing investment money from ‘traditional’ lending institutions, i.e. big banks, has been difficult,” Mr Boldy said.
“In order to investigate possible contrasts, the Council, with Innisfail District Chamber of Commerce Industry and Tourism, has sought to hear from a new player on the lending landscape – so called ‘digital banks’ – to see what alternative services and opportunities they may be able to provide.”

Tim Alexander, a co-founder of Judo Capital, has 24 years’ commercial banking experience at National Australia Bank, including national head of Small and Emerging business and a Risk Manager of SME Credit.

Kris Whitehead is an international banker with more than 18 years’ experience in financial services, from Small Business to Corporate and Institutional in Australia and Asia.

The Business Network Meeting will begin with a meet and greet at 5.30pm for a 6pm start. It is expected to run for two hours with a number of 20-minute presentations, followed by a question and answer session and time for business participants to network and to raise investment interest in our region.

For more information or to RSVP, please contact