FSU calls for inquiry as branch closures reach crisis point

  • By Zilla Efrat

The Finance Sector Union (FSU) says the government should launch an inquiry into the shutdown of bank branches across Australia because closures have reached a crisis point.

According to the FSU, three of Australia’s Big Four banks plan to shut down another 37 branches over the next few months.

“This latest list of closures means the Big Four have closed more than 550 bank branches across Australia since January 2020,” says 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.”

Angrisano says Westpac will close 24 branches, CBA will shut five and NAB is set to walk away from eight. These moves will result in the loss of 182 jobs.

Westpac’s branches also include those under the St George, Bank of Melbourne and Bank South Australia brands.

Two banking brands are being withdrawn from the same location in Corrimal, New South Wales. “Imagine the impact of losing two more banks in the same suburb,” says Angrisano.

She believes self-regulation has not worked and that the Australian Banking Association’s commitment to consulting with the community about proposed branch closures is being ignored.

“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 says.

“The United Kingdom has a formal ‘community impact assessment test’ and we need a similar test to ring-fence our branches.

Angrisano plans to seek the assistance of the Albanese Government to ensure continuous delivery of banking services to the Australian community, especially in regional areas.

Branches to be closed include:

Westpac

New South Wales: Lakemba, Engadine, Corrimal, Kingscliff.

Queensland: Ashmore, Nerang, Rockhampton.

Victoria: Braeside, Whittlesea, Werribee, Lilydale.

Western Australia: Mandurah, South Perth.

Northern Territory: Berrimah.

St George

New South Wales: Five Dock.

Bank of Melbourne: Croydon, Coburg, Fitzroy, Sunbury, Footscray, 114 William St Melb, Mornington.

Bank South Australia: Munno Parra, St Peters.

NAB

New South Wales: Lavington, Narrandera, Corrimal, Figtree, Cronulla, Maroubra.

Queensland: Wynnum.

Victoria: North Melbourne.

Commonwealth Bank

New South Wales: Annandale, Toongabbie, Lindfield.

Victoria: Drysdale, Woodend.