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NAB branch closures in QLD, NSW, VIC and ACT slammed as ‘betrayal of the community’

NAB branch closures in QLD, NSW, VIC and ACT slammed as ‘betrayal of the community’

National Australia Bank will close five branches next year, the bank has confirmed.

NAB retail executive Krissie Jones said the branches to be closed on March 7, 2024 are Tuggeranong in ACT, Scone in NSW, Emerald in Greater Melbourne, Runaway Bay on the Gold Coast and Balmain in Sydney.

She said the closures were a result of more people choosing to bank online.

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“While we understand some people will be disappointed, this decision was made after looking closely at the number of customers using these branches and the increased use of digital banking in the area,” Jones said.

“Just as people are using online government services to complete their tax or a Medicare claim, locals in these areas are increasingly choosing to bank digitally because it’s often more convenient.“

NAB closed 30 regional bank branches within six months. Credit: AAP

The Financial Sector Union was notified of the closures last month.

FSU national secretary Julia Angrisano slammed the announcement’s timing just before Christmas, when she said some households would be struggling with cost of living pressures.

“Closing these banks is a betrayal of the community and staff in these areas and will make banking harder for older people, businesses and anyone who needs to speak to a banker face-to-face,” Angrisano said.

“It is a disgrace that NAB continues to aggressively pursue its branch closure strategy without genuine community engagement or employee consultation.”

Jones stressed no jobs were lost as a result of the closures and employees of closing branches will be transferred to other roles at the bank.

She said NAB customers can deposit, withdraw and check their account balances at Australia Post stores participating in a Bank@Post service.

Investigating regional closures

NAB has closed at least 30 regional branches over the past six months.

Its announcement to close five more branches across three different states comes amid an ongoing Senate inquiry into regional bank closures.

The inquiry was launched in February 2023 in response to more than 1,600 regional bank branches closing in six years.

Angrisano said NAB was “out of step” with its bank competitors which had agreed to not close more branches while the senate inquiry was underway.

“The CBA has seen the growth potential in keeping branches open and maintaining its branch network and the NAB should follow suit,” she said.

NAB Group chief executive officer Ross McEwan said during a September hearing that 93 per cent of the bank’s interactions happen online and only 3 per cent of its customers exclusively used NAB branches.

A senate inquiry is investigating regional bank closures. Credit: AAP

“The decision to close a branch is done with careful consideration of how our customers are visiting and using the branch, the availability of alternative banking options and our ability to attract talented bankers to serve our customers,” he said at the inquiry.

He also stated the company had invested $100 million in 68 regional towns nationally, with another $22 million worth of regional investment planned for the future.

But after persistent questioning by Liberal Senator Gerard Rennick, NAB admitted there were a “small number of instances” where branches had closed, despite there being an increased volume of transactions.

The inquiry’s next hearing will be held on December 1, with a final report due in May 2024.

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