Before the merger, Bendigo Bank delivered its products and services through almost 900 outlets Australia-wide, including more than 160 company owned branches, 220 community owned Community Bank branches of Bendigo Bank, 100 agencies and 400 Elders outlets. The bank's branches are primarily in Victoria and Queensland. The merged bank now has over 400 branches, including 25 that came with the merger of Adelaide Bank.
At seven years old, in 1865, the company restructured, taking the name Bendigo Mutual Permanent Land and Building Society, which incorporated in Victoria 11 years afterwards. It continued to expand its holdings when, in 1978, it merged with Bendigo and Eaglehawk Star, a building society established in 1901.
Further growth involved the acquisition of the building societies Sandhurst, in 1983, and Sunraysia, in 1985, a merger with Sandhurst Trustees Ltd and the acquisition of Capital and Compass building societies.
In 1982 BBS became the first financial institution in Australia to introduce successfully both Visa credit and debit cards.
1993 saw BBS receive a stockmarket listing. Its growth continued throughout the 90s when it acquired National Mortgage Market Corporation Limited in 1995, a mortgage-manager company focussed on loan introducers and brokers. In that year BBS converted to a bank with the name Bendigo Bank and, further, acquired Monte Paschi Australia, which it renamed Cassa Commerciale Australia in 1997.
Bendigo Bank's "Community Bank" program began in 1998—the first branches opened in the western Victoria towns of Minyip and Rupanyup on 26 June and the first metropolitan branch in the outer eastern suburb of Upwey on 19 October.
The late 1990s saw a further development when Bendigo Bank and Elders Australia formed Elders Rural Bank, a joint venture company focused on agribusiness and rural Australia. Bendigo Bank was also the first financial institution to introduce a mortgage offset account, now a standard banking product in Australia.
In 1999 the bank formed an alliance involving mutual shareholding with IOOF.
The bank received its operating licence in 2000 and absorbed the First Australian Building Society in Queensland, acquiring a new regional headquarters in Ipswich. That same year saw a A$75 million head office expansion in Bendigo.
In 2002 Bendigo Bank introduced the first "Green Loans" in Australia and formed "Community Sector Banking", a banking joint venture with the not-for-profit sector.
In 2007 Bendigo Bank rejected Bank of Queensland's merger/takeover proposal, and merged with Adelaide Bank. The A$4 billion takeover was completed on 30 November. Subsequently, shareholders voted to change the company's name to Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited, with the change taking effect from 31 March 2008.
On 11 December 2008, Bendigo Bank's new headquarters in Bendigo was completed. The 26th Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd, was present at the opening.
On 16 December 2011, Bendigo Bank announced that it has reached agreement with the Bank of Cyprus Group to acquire its 100 per cent owned Australian subsidiary, Bank of Cyprus Australia Limited (BOCAL). The purchase will be for an estimated total consideration of A$130 million. It has been renamed Delphi Bank.
In April 2013, Bendigo Bank's subsidiary 'Oxford Funding' rebranded as Bendigo Debtor Finance, offering independent credit assessments and cash-flow solutions to businesses on a national level.
In June 2014, the bank became the first in Australia to adopt an investment policy which shunned fossil fuel investments. "Specifically, the bank does not lend to companies for whom the core activity is the exploration, mining, manufacture or export of thermal coal or coal seam gas."
In 2015 Bendigo bank openly supported the building and funding of a mosque in Bendigo. While locals protested against both the mosque and the immigration Bendigo bank responded by closing the account of a group called Stop the Mosque who spoke out against the mosque. The bank chairman said that history showed Bendigo was an inclusive community and he believed that is the sort of place needed again, and bigotry and hate were not Bendigo's values. In April 2014, after it closed the account, Bendigo Bank stated in closing the account that it only wants to do business with organisations that share its values. This drew criticism from a local councillor and support from a local lawyer. The bank said that it values tolerance and inclusiveness, which are important parts of a strong community.
Community Bank is an innovative franchise program in which the local community owns and operates a Bendigo Bank branch (which is separately incorporated) and Bendigo Bank provides all the banking infrastructure and support. The community company, after paying its branch running costs, shares any remaining profit with the Bendigo Bank. The program was a response to the massive closure of bank branches in rural areas. Bendigo Bank has since extended the program to areas with existing bank services.
Subsidiaries of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank include Rural Bank, Rural Bank ONE, Rural Finance Corporation of Victoria, Bendigo Debtor Finance (formerly Oxford Funding), LeveragedEquities, Sandhurst Trustees, Delphi Bank (formerly Bank of Cyprus Australia), Bendigo Financial Planning, and Bendigo Bank Telco.
Bendigo and Adelaide Bank joint ventures with Community 21 in its Community Sector Banking project.
Bendigo and Adelaide Bank had acquired Wheeler Financial Services which was merged with Bendigo Financial Planning, and also acquired Southern Finance.