Dozens of major bank branches are set to be closed over the next few months which will see 182 Australians lose their jobs, according to the Finance Sector Union.
In total, 37 branches will be shuttered across the nation, with the union describing the closures as reaching “crisis point”.
Westpac Group is making the most dramatic cuts with 24 branches being shut down across the country.
In NSW, Westpac branches in the suburbs of Lakemba, Engadine, Corrimal and Kingscliff will be shuttered in coming months, while Queensland’s branches in Ashmore, Nerang and Rockhampton will also be shut.
The closures will also hit Westpac’s Western Australian branches based on Mandurah and South Perthwhile the berrimah branch in the Northern Territory has also been cut.
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The Finance Sector Union said it had campaigned against branch closures for many years but is now seeking government intervention to protect local economies and save what’s left of Australia’s bank branch network.
“This latest list of closures means the big four have closed more than 550 bank branches across Australia since January 2020,” said Finance Sector Union (FSU) national secretary Julia Angrisano.
“We must act to stop the banks walking away from communities in our suburbs and towns. It’s time to examine the impact of these closures which have hit hundreds of communities across the country.”
Others set to close down as part of the Westpac Group include St George’s NSW branch in Five Dockthe Bank SA’s branches in Munno Parra and St Peterswhile the Bank of Melbourne will also lose seven branches.
The Bank of Melbourne branches include Croydon, Coburg, Fitzroy, Sunbury, Footscray, 114 William St Melb and Mornington.
Meanwhile, the NAB is closing nine branches across three states, including sites located in Lavington, Narrandera, Corrimal, Figtree, Cronulla and Maroubra in NSW, Wynnum in QLD and North Melbourne in Victoria.
Two states will be impacted by branch closures by the CBA, including the NSW suburbs of Annandale, Toongabbie and Lindfieldas well as Drysdale and Woodend in Victoria.
Ms Angrisano said communities depend on the banks to deliver financial services and feared the current trend would mean no branches in the future.
“The banks notify the FSU about upcoming closures. In this case, two banking brands are being withdrawn from the same location in Corrimal, NSW. Imagine the impact of losing two more banks in the same suburb?,” she said.
She said the banks had failed to support local communities and cost savings from branch closures were designed to increase the banks’ already huge profits.
“We need an inquiry into bank branch closures to assess the impact on local communities when the banks pull out of suburbs and towns,” she said.
“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.”
A Westpac Group spokesperson said with more than five million digitally active customers, it was investing in services to complement how our customers choose to bank.
“Declining customer use of branches means that in some instances, we may take a difficult decision to leave a branch location. In these instances, we continue to support our customers with access to banking services via Bank@Post, telephone, mobile and virtual banking,” they said.
“We take steps to ensure customers are notified in advance about the changes and are directly connected with the services they need to continue to do their banking. For those who are new to digital banking, or may require more assistance with the changes, we provide dedicated support and education to make the transition easier.
They added that the “majority” of affected employees would secure a new role within the group.
Krissie Jones, from NAB executive retail, said as more and more customers are choosing to bank online, we’ve made the difficult decision to close some branches that receive less customer visits.
“Increasingly Australians are banking digitally, with more than 94 per cent of customer interactions now taking place over the phone, by video or online,” she said.
“While these branches will no longer be there, we will still be there for our customers – just in different ways,” she said. “Over the past few years, fewer customers are coming into branches to do their banking and foot traffic has lessened, which has been accelerated by Covid.”
She added there will be no job losses at NAB and the branch team will also be working with customers over the coming weeks to talk with them about the various banking alternatives available.
CBA did not respond to news.com.au’s request for comment before publication.