ANZ will close 15 bank branches across the country in a move that has been slammed by the industry union as “deserting communities around Australia”.
Nine branches in NSW, two branches in Victoria and four branches in Western Australia are slated to close across June, September and October this year, according to the Finance Sector Union.
Finance Sector Union national secretary Julia Angrisano said bank branches were an essential service for regional Australians, and the closures would force thousands of customers to travel long distances to other towns to do their banking.
“The ANZ takes the cake as the worst performer when it comes to deserting communities around Australia,” she said.
“Shutting branches in regional areas does not reflect the true needs of bank customers.
“They need to be able to transact the full range of banking and financial services in branches close to where they live.”
The bank closures will force 54 regionally-based ANZ employees out of a job, Angrisano added.
“If you live and work in a regional town, your opportunities for redeployment are virtually nil.”
She added that COVID had forced big banks to fast-track plans to close branches, but slammed the financial institutions for prioritising profits over the needs of the communities.
“We don’t believe the community is ready for the changes to banking that are being pushed by the likes of the ANZ,” she said.
“And we know the community is not ready for managing their finances online because one third of bank customers either don’t have a computer, do not have sufficient skills or are not interested in taking up online banking.”
This is the list of 15 ANZ bank branches scheduled to close later. Most will close in October:
Bacchus Marsh (closing 16 September)
Bassendean (closing 9 June)
Baldivis (closing 9 June)
ANZ managing director of retail Katherine Bray told Yahoo Finance it was looking to "retain as many [employees] as we can, particularly with increased demands on other areas of the bank".
"Of our employees that were working in a branch that closed last year, we were able to find new roles or redeployment opportunities for nearly all of them that wanted to stay with ANZ, including at remote locations," she said.
"These were some of our most experienced staff and we redeployed them to where our customers need them most."
Employees forced to leave the business will have access to "unlimited career coaching and outplacement support", and workers who face financial hardship after being cut will have access to ANZ's Past Employee Care Fund, she added.
She also said the majority (70 per cent) of bank customers preferred digital banking during 2020, with only 12 per cent of customers using bank branches.
"We were only completing about one transaction per customer per month over the counter," she said.
"We notify customers and let them know about all the alternatives they have available, including specialist teams on the ground in their region that can help them."