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Major bank to partially close 114 regional branches

A big four bank has announced that 114 smaller regional branches will only open in the mornings from next month, as the bank embraces remote banking.

NAB has said it will change the way it runs more than 100 of its smaller regional branches, only opening them between 9.30am and 12.30pm for customers, and moving to phone or online banking in the afternoon.

The change, which will come in effect on 17 August, will see bankers splitting their time between over-the-counter service and digital or phone banking support.

According to the bank, more than 90 per cent of NAB’s customer interactions are now taking place online or by phone, and more than half of its customers log onto NAB banking via the app or online each month. 

It added that over-the-counter transactions have been declining steadily and have reduced by a quarter in the past year. 

Further, the bank noted that approximately a quarter of transactions take place between 9.30am and 10.30am in regional branches.

NAB’s group executive personal banking, Rachel Slade, commented: “It is clear the face of banking is changing, especially in the way customers want to interact with us…

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“Through this new model, we can continue to be there to serve our customers and have meaningful conversations while also adapting to the way our customers are now banking.”

Moreover, the bank noted that many bankers had re-skilled into remote banking during the COVID-19 restrictions and demonstrated that there was an opportunity for bankers to work remotely, at times. 

Ms Slade said: “Our colleagues will learn new skills to support customers in new ways, including on the phone and online chat, which presents the opportunity for our bankers to work remotely at times when more of our customers want to do their banking. We have shown this is possible through COVID-19 restrictions with more than 450 bankers trained in new skills to support customers in different ways.  

“The chance for more of our bankers to work from anywhere is something I am very excited about.

“We think this move will strike that balance, keeping the doors open at 114 branches around the country and providing the opportunity for around 300 bankers to learn skills while we continue to serve our customers well.

“We are there for our regional customers and communities – and we will continue to invest in our colleagues to give them the skills they need to do their jobs into the future,” Ms Slade concluded. 

[Related: Westpac mulling branch closures] 

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