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A number of CBA branches across NSW, the ACT, South Australia, Western Australia, Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania are set to operate from 9.30am to 1pm.
Affected branch staff will operate the centres in the morning and switch to assisting CBA’s contact centres in the afternoons, which reportedly are receiving more than a million complex customer enquiries each month.
CBA has made the change after an internal consultation, noting that all of the locations have 24/7 access to ATMs.
Mark Jones, executive general manager, customer service network, commented that the bank has adapted its branches to meet “customers’ evolving needs while ensuring jobs stay in regional communities”.
“We’re expanding our Australian-based contact centre network from five dedicated locations to over 90 communities across the country, while keeping a physical banking presence in regional communities,” Mr Jones said.
The following branches across NSW, South Australia and Western Australia will have reduced trading hours from 13 September:
The new trading hours will also be implemented across Victoria, Tasmania and Queensland from 4 October at these specific locations:
Outside of the new trading hours, Bank@Post will continue to be available at 3,500 Australia Post outlets.
CBA recently renewed its 110-year partnership with Australia Post until 2032, allowing personal and business customers to make withdrawals, deposits and bill payments.
“We understand these changes may be an adjustment for some of our customers, and the team at their local branch will continue to be available to help them find the solutions that best suit their needs,” Mr Jones said.
CBA reported the pandemic has not changed customer preferences towards digital and contact centre services, but in recent years it had seen a “significant” increase in customers self-serving via the app or NetBank. It now has 7.5 million digitally active customers.
The bank has committed to investing around $50 a million a year to its branch network, for upgrades, refurbishing and to open new centres where there is demand.
However, it recently indicated that it expects a reduction in branch and ATM numbers to continue over the rest of the year. CBA closed 53 branches between 7 March 2020 and 27 March 2021, and reported having 928 branches open as at 31 March (839 branded as CBA and 93 under subsidiary Bankwest).
Similar to CBA’s latest move, NAB partially closed 114 smaller regional branches in 2020, with staff opening branches in the mornings and moving to phone or online banking in the afternoon.
NAB recently indicated that it would be investing in a $100-million branch transformation program and opening four new-format branches across Sydney and Melbourne.
However, the changes came amid a review into its branch network. NAB closed 72 branches during 2020 and 2021, as at 25 May and had 548 branches across Australia.
But when queried by a parliamentary committee, the bank said it “cannot state with confidence” how many branches will be left by the end of the year.
ANZ and Westpac have similarly closed branches during 2020 and 2021 – ANZ closed 145 as at May, while Westpac had closed 80.
ANZ has signalled it will have 425 branches by the end of the year, with 23 more to close.