Westpac has finally caved in to pressure from bank workers and local communities and announced it will cancel branch closures in Cloncurry, Ingham, Tully, Gatton (QLD), Sale, Robinvale (Vic), Denmark (WA) and Kingston (SA).
This comes as the Senate Inquiry into regional bank closures is due to take evidence in Cloncurry and
Ingham next week.
Finance Sector Union National Secretary Julia Angrisano said union members and local community members had shamed Westpac into backing down but the bank needed to go further.
“Back in February, days after the Senate Inquiry was announced, Westpac said 20 branches would close,” Ms Angrisano said.
“By giving eight bank branches a reprieve, it has ignored communities and bank workers at the other branches.”
“While everyone agrees this decision is the right thing to do, Westpac needs to be fair dinkum and cancel the closure of all 20 branches.”
“Westpac’s massive $4 billion half year profit demands that it stops leaving members of the community stranded without financial services and take responsibility for doing what the entire community expects a bank to do – provide access to banking for all Australians no matter where they live.”
“That doesn’t mean traveling a hundred kilometres to the next branch or lining up at already overworked Post Offices.”
“If Westpac can cancel closures in some areas because of a Senate Inquiry, it should cancel closures everywhere.”
“The banks and the Australian Banking Association have been telling the community for years that branch closures are simply about responding to changing customer preferences. Now we know, by this decision, that this is a sham argument designed to con an unsuspecting customer base.”
Details of branches which should not be closed.
(Note: Westpac Group includes Bank of Melbourne.)
Westpac: NSW. Newtown, Potts Point.
Qld. Kin Kora, Milton.
Vic. Brandon Park.
Bank of Melbourne: Casey, Chirnside Park, Moonee Ponds, Melton Woodgrove, South Melbourne, Malvern, Waurn Ponds.
Media contact John Hill 0412 197 079.