The Westpac Banking Group is at it again, dumping staff and customers in a return to its aggressive branch closure program.

Westpac understands how angry customers get when having to travel long distances to conduct banking, so it cunningly suspended branch closures during the Federal election campaign. But now the election is over another 24 branches across Australia will be axed with the loss of 76 jobs.

Westpac will close branches under the Westpac, Bank of Melbourne or St George brands in the following locations: NSW: Glenn Innes; Kiama; Lavington; Leura; Wauchope; Cronulla; Kingsgrove.

VIC: Bentleigh; Colac; Eltham; Greythorn; Leongatha; Morwell; Portland; Reservoir; South Yarra; Werribee.

SA: Fulham Gardens; Peterborough.

Qld: Nambour; New Farm; Toombul.

WA: Kununurra; University Campus.

“This is a low act, and shameful behaviour from Westpac which pushes customers onto the scrapheap when a branch fails to meet its targets for new sales of banking products and a continuing boost to profits,” said Finance Sector Union (FSU) National Secretary Julia Angrisano.

“Shutting down branches means Westpac will continue to put profits before people. The bank quite plainly doesn’t care about forcing inconvenience on customers and throwing affected staff onto unemployment queues.”

Ms Angrisano said Westpac’s obscene race to boost profits was crippling the economies of many towns and important agricultural regions. Some like Morwell, 150 kilometres east of Melbourne have lost ANZ, Bank Australia and CBA branches and when Westpac closes its doors in early August, only NAB will be left.

“How long before the NAB walks away and leaves the community in Morwell without any local banking services?”

“This race to shut branches has to stop and it’s time the Federal Government imposed a minimum service standard on the banks to make sure customers are protected.”

“When in government, the Coalition set up a cruel stunt, a Taskforce to examine regional branch closures. Where is Senator Bridget McKenzie now that more branches are closing? She should be rallying her mates in the National Party to defend regional Australia from greedy bankers who are selling out farmers and local businesses.”

Media contact John Hill 0412 197 079

Authorised by Julia Angrisano, National Secretary