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Fewer people heading to bank branches

Just 16 per cent of people choose to use a physical bank for their finance needs, with more than half of consumers opting to bank online, new research has found.

According to research commissioned by branchless bank ING, the convenience of digital banking has led Australians to abandon physical bank branches.

YouGov Galaxy surveyed 1,027 Australians aged 18 years and over in February 2019 for ING in relation to Australians’ attitudes to banking.

According to the data, more than half of Aussies (56 per cent) have gone online for their banking needs, compared to just 16 per cent who visit physical branches.

The survey found that common places for online banking were: in bed (44 per cent), at work (43 per cent) or on public transport (29 per cent). A fifth of people also reported to have utilised online banking while on the toilet (20 per cent).


According to ING, the convenience of 24/7 online banking has also helped people save more money – with 65 per cent of those aged over 35 said that they were better at saving now than they were pre-internet. Morover, three-quarters of respondents over the age of 35 (79 per cent) said it had eradicated the fear of checking their bank balance.

When asked what constitutes a “great banking experience”, 75 per cent of respondents said it was “simple, reliable banking technology that makes life easier”.

Fourteen per cent said it was “having access to the latest wearable banking tech”, 13 per cent said it was “making payments via social media platforms” while 11 per cent said it was having access to customer service chat bots.

Commenting on the findings, ING’s head of digital and innovation, Chris Barwick, said: “Aussies lead busier lives than ever, and our research suggests a new wave of ‘lifestyle bankers’ are taking advantage of digital banking to access their accounts from the comfort of their home or during their commute.

“Being able to quickly access banking information is also a driving catalyst to becoming a better saver, and as people grow up with technology at their fingertips, this trend will continue to build.”


He continued: Our research has found that Aussies are certainly embracing online banking and checking their accounts more frequently, due to the real-time benefits that have helped to rid some of the major worries around personal finance.”

The findings compound those made by Roy Morgan last year and echo comments from ANZ CEO Shayne Elliott, who told the financial services royal commission in November 2018 that he believed the branch network was “not terribly efficient” at originating home loans.

“[I] would say for ANZ – and we may be different from our peer group – [less] than a third of home loans are originated through a branch,” he said.

“[Fifty-five] per cent come through brokers and another roughly 15 per cent come through our mobile banking network.”

This trend is echoed at other major banks, including CBA, whose proprietary channel originates 60 per cent of its home loan flows, compared to 43 per cent of ANZ’s mortgage flows originated by its branch network.  

[Related: Use of bank branches dwindling: Roy Morgan]

Fewer people heading to bank branches

Annie Kane

Annie Kane is the editor of The Adviser and Mortgage Business.

As well as writing about the Australian broking industry, the mortgage market, financial regulation, fintechs and the wider lending landscape – Annie is also the host of the Elite Broker and In Focus podcasts and The Adviser Live webcasts. 

Contact Annie at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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