Westpac Banking Corporation (WBC) has notified the Finance Sector Union (FSU) it will shut down another 23 branches across Australia with the loss of 92 jobs.
FSU National Secretary Julia Angrisano said Westpac has announced the closure of 95 branches over the past four months leaving staff at every branch which remains, fearful that their bank will be the next to close down.
“This is the most appalling decimation of a branch network by a bank which is now on the verge of abandoning its social contract with the community,” Ms Angrisano said.
“Hundreds of banking jobs have been lost as Westpac rips through what’s left of its branches.”
“The Bank of Melbourne, Bank SA and St George brands are being hit hard and may well disappear if the current rate of closures continues.”
“Clearly, servicing the banking needs of customers is being ignored, as Westpac chases cost savings by cutting their bricks and mortar, and staffing costs.”
“Westpac staff have known for a long time the bank doesn’t care about people because they have borne the brunt of pressure from executives to work unpaid overtime to complete unreasonable daily workloads.”
“Bank customers shouldn’t believe Westpac’s spin that branches are closing because consumers prefer digital banking. These suburbs and towns are losing their bank because Westpac isn’t recouping enough profits from the sale of new loans, insurance policies and credit cards in their area.”
“This process is particularly difficult for front-line staff. As well as facing the prospect of losing their jobs, the FSU has had reports of angry customers walking into branches and abusing them for what Westpac senior management are doing.”
“This latest round of closures is why we need the Federal Government to set up an inquiry into the closure of bank branches, especially in regional areas, where they have a devastating impact on retail and business customers.”
Details of branches being closed.
(Note: Westpac Group also includes St George Bank, Bank of Melbourne and Bank SA.)
Westpac: NSW. Hay, Moree, Campbelltown, Qld. Port Douglas, Vic. Beaumaris, Endeavour Hills, Gisborne, WA. Carnamah, SA. Coober Pedy, NT. Katherine
St George: QLD. Townsville, Cairns, NSW. North Sydney, ACT.Weston.
Bank of Melbourne: Greensborough, Horsham, Prahran, Shepparton, Sunshine.
Bank SA: Greenacres, Kapunda, Port Adelaide, Tailem Bend.
Ms Angrisano said the latest Westpac closures would have a major impact on towns which are losing their last bank: Coober Pedy, Carnamah, Kapunda and Tailem Bend. Hay in NSW will be left with just a Commonwealth Bank when the local Westpac branch closes.
“We need the Federal Government to step in and stop the banks from deserting regional Australia. Banks can’t be trusted to do the right thing by regional communities because when considering whether to close branches, they only consider their massive profits and the bonuses of senior executives. They don’t care about bank staff and the communities which will be impacted by their decisions to shut branch doors.”
Quotes from Westpac staff affected by the closures:
“This is emotionally exhausting as every conversation with a customer is a reminder that we will be losing our jobs. The impact on the mental health of everyone working at the branch is huge and taking its toll.”
“Every customer wants to talk about the branch closing and they are concerned about what this means for them and for the staff.”
“We are remote, what our employment options look like is up in the air, we are all facing a very insecure future.”
“The bank expects us all to remain motivated and meet sales targets and participate in sales campaigns as if everything was normal.”