Retirees, schools, sporting clubs and even a local Baptist church are in shock and fearful about the fate of their investments following the collapse of Banksia Securities.
Receivers McGrathNicol took charge of the non-bank financial firm, based in Kyabram in central Victoria, and froze investments on Thursday after the Banksia board found the company faced insolvency.
The Kyabram Baptist Church, in the Goulburn River Valley, has all of its investments in Banksia, Pastor Robert Arnold says.
He says the church, local businesses and household investors - predominantly retirees - have been left shaken by the sudden collapse, which they only learned about on Thursday night.
'It's been quite a shock. There've been quite a few people who've (called me) and indicated they're worried about it,' Mr Arnold told AAP on Friday.
'There are some significant monies that've been invested with these people. It's not just businesses ... it's mum-and-dad investors.'
The Baptist Church, which lies directly across the road from Banksia's administrative headquarters, is setting up a hub for those affected by the firm's collapse to gather, chat and exchange information, Mr Arnold said.
'That way we can at least try and relieve their suffering,' he said.
Kyabram Chamber of Commerce president Sheryl Hatch says she and her family are among scores of town residents who stand to lose 'a lot of money'.
She particularly feels for elderly residents who rely on Banksia for their everyday banking, but vows the 'beautiful little town' will survive whatever happens.
'We've just got to soldier on, we've just got to stay positive,' she told AAP.
'This community will band together. We may not get every cent out, but we can pull ourselves out of this.'
Kyabram District Plan Group member and accountant Peter Nelson, whose firm shares an office building with Banksia's now-closed transaction centre, says there may be hope for investors to recoup at least some of their cash, given Banksia's advances are secured by first-ranking property mortgages.
Mr Nelson, himself a Banksia investor, says everyone from retirees to sporting clubs and schools in the Goulburn River Valley region has money in the firm, describing it as a financial icon in the region that's built a strong reputation since forming in the 1960s.
'Unless there's some real bodgies in there (Banksia's accounts), we'd be hopeful something will come out in the wash,' he told AAP.
'Hopefully this won't be as bad as people believe.'