Nationals’ Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke has written to the NAB in the wake of its announcement to close rural bank branches in Gundagai and Temora, condemning its decision and demanding it be reconsidered.
“When we talk about wiping out face-to-face banking services in country NSW, we know such actions tear big holes in the fabric of small regional communities,” Ms Cooke said.
The big banks have all claimed their customers are changing the way they use banks, and that they are merely adjusting their business models to reflect these changes.
But Ms Cooke expressed no sympathy for such decisions when the fallout is so damaging.
“Unfortunately, I have been on the public record far too many times in recent years on the issue of bank closures and my view hasn’t changed,” Ms Cooke said.
“I care little for the march towards online and mobile phone banking. There is simply no justification for the decision to shut down face-to-face banking services.”
“There are elderly people who have lived in the communities of Gundagai and Temora for decades, or indeed their entire lives and are not internet or mobile banking savvy. They have placed their trust and savings in institutions such as the NAB. They know the people they transact with at their local branch. They deserve better.”
“Year after year NAB, and the other big banks, post billions of dollars of profit, yet the impact of these closures on our local branch employees, their families and our small communities is immense.”
“It’s simply not good enough and I have written to the NAB requesting that they reconsider this decision and I eagerly await their response.”
The NAB’s Gundagai branch will close on September 26. The NAB says if customers want to continue with face-to-face banking they can go to its Tumut branch – almost 35 kilometres away.
The NAB’s Temora branch will close on September 28. The NAB says if customers want to continue with face-to-face banking they can go to its Cootamundra branch – almost 55 kilometres away – or its Wagga Wagga branch – nearly 90 kilometres away.
It’s estimated that more than 650 bank branches have been closed in rural and regional Australia since 2020.
More than 1,600 bank branches were closed in all parts of the country between June 2017 and June 2022.
The Senate Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport is examining bank closures in regional Australia, with its report due by December 1 this year.