The speedy transition in direction of a digital banking society is choosing up pace, with a string of department closures in main cities marking an vital shift within the priorities of Australia’s greatest banks.
Commonwealth Financial institution introduced final week that it could shut three extra branches earlier than March 1, together with Rundle Mall in Adelaide, Coolangatta on the Gold Coast and Coogee in Sydney’s east.
The week prior, NAB introduced it could shut 13 branches this yr, and Bankwest, which is owned by CBA, will shut two extra branches.
These closures will add to greater than 2100 branches which have been shuttered throughout all main banking establishments over the previous six years.
Tens of millions of Australians depend on these branches to take care of their funds, and for some teams, together with the aged and other people residing with a incapacity, they’re the one technique of banking.
Finance Sector Union nationwide secretary Julia Angrisano mentioned the closures signalled a “desertion” of an vital service and had a “devastating influence” on communities, significantly these residing in regional and distant areas.
“The banks have been utilizing department closures to prop up their huge earnings for years and it’s time they had been compelled to take care of customer support to native communities in regional and metropolitan areas,” she mentioned.
Nonetheless, the influence on folks residing in cities shouldn’t be diminished, with hundreds of individuals compelled to make use of a shrinking variety of department areas.
“There are 800,000 folks passing by means of Rundle Mall each week and lots of will probably be CBA prospects; nevertheless, the financial institution has determined to close the department with the lack of 13 jobs,” Ms Angrisano mentioned.
“That is the busiest procuring precinct in Adelaide, however CBA prospects and companies are being advised to discover a department elsewhere within the metropolis if they should go to a financial institution department.
“Coogee is in the midst of Sydney’s closely populated jap suburbs, with many older prospects, however that department goes as effectively.”
Three of the 4 massive banks – and one other 80 different monetary establishments – have redirected prospects in direction of one of many 3500 Australia Submit retailers the place they will use the Financial institution@Submit service to deposit and withdraw money and make stability inquiries.
“The banks declare that prospects can transfer to doing banking on the put up workplace, however there’s solely a restricted service accessible at put up workplaces, so that isn’t a practical possibility and never all banks have a contract with Australia Submit,” Ms Angrisano mentioned.
The providers a department presents its local people are far past simply money transactions, with identification checks, mortgage purposes, and a variety of different vital face-to-face service interactions which can be important to successfully servicing prospects.
“All these interactions have one factor in widespread,” Ms Angrisano mentioned. “They have to be carried out by a suitably certified financial institution employee. They’ll’t be achieved in a put up workplace.”
The variety of branches in main cities and metropolitan areas has diminished by 39 per cent within the final six years, Adam Trevorrow from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority advised a federal senate inquiry in December 2023.