The national secretary of the Finance Sector Union (FSU) is urging government to step in to “protect local economies and save what’s left of Australia’s bank branch network” after more branch closures were confirmed by the major banks.
The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) will be closing five branches, National Australia Bank (NAB) is set to close eight banks and the Westpac Group (including its subsidiaries) will be closing 24 branches.
In total, 37 branches are set to close over the next few months, the FSU stated, including:
- NSW - Annandale, Toongabbie, Lindfield
- Victoria - Drysdale, Woodend
- NSW - Lavington, Narrandera, Corrimal, Figtree, Cronulla, Maroubra
- Queensland - Wynnum
- Victoria - North Melbourne
- NSW - Lakemba, Engadine, Corrimal, Kingscliff
- Queensland - Ashmore, Nerang, Rockhampton
- Victoria - Braeside, Whittlesea, Werribee, Lilydale
- Western Australia - Mandurah, South Perth
- Northern Territory - Berrimah
(A further 10 branches of Westpac subsidiaries St.George, Bank of Melbourne and BankSA are also set to close in the following months).
Speaking of the move, Finance Sector Union (FSU) national secretary, Julia Angrisano, highlighted that the latest list of closures means the big four banks have closed more than 550 bank branches across Australia since January 2020.
“We must act to stop the banks walking away from communities in our suburbs and towns,” she said.
"It’s time to examine the impact of these closures which have hit hundreds of communities across the country,” added, noting that two of the branch closures impact the same location (Corrimal, NSW).
“Imagine the impact of losing two more banks in the same suburb.”
Ms Angrisano suggested that the “four pillars” were failing to support local communities by closing branches, commenting: “Instead the banks continue to shut down branches, sack workers and turn their backs on customers and businesses.
“Cost savings from branch closures are designed to increase the banks’ already huge profits.
“The big four are said to be ‘too big to fail’ and have enjoyed Government guarantees in the past but they are not too big to regulate when it comes to the branch network.
“Communities depend on the banks to deliver financial services but if we don’t stop the current trend, there will be no branches left.”
Ms Angrisano called for an inquiry into bank branch closures to “assess the impact on local communities when the banks pull out of suburbs and towns”.
“The UK has a formal ‘community impact assessment test’ and we need a similar test to ring-fence our branches and make sure banking services the public which they derive their profits from,” she said.
The FSU head has pledged to seek the assistance of the Albanese government to ensure continuing delivery of banking services to the Australian community, especially in regional areas.
It is not yet known when a final report is expected.