ANZ has announced it will shut 19 branches across Victoria, NSW and Queensland in a move described by the Financial Sector Union as “heartless”.
The bank will shut 12 branches in NSW, with most of the closures in Sydney. Another six will be shut in Victoria, and Brisbane’s West End branch will also close.
“Banks are still blaming customers for branch closures, claiming falsely that the public doesn’t value branches and prefer to complete their financial transactions online,” National Secretary Julia Angrisano said.
“It is the banks which prefer to force customers online because they can reduce staff numbers, save money on wages and rents, and increase profits.”
ANZ made $3.76 billion in full-year profits during the pandemic.
The FSU said 105 staff will be affected by the closures, with many set to lose their jobs.
Branch closures NSW:
Branch closures Victoria:
However, ANZ said the biggest change it has seen in recent years has been the shift to digital banking, noting that in 2020, 70 per cent of its customers preferred digital banking.
"Only 12 per cent of our customers used branches during the same time, which means we were only completing about one transaction per customer per month over the counter. This follows a longer term trend that saw in-branch transactions drop on average about 50 per cent over the past four years," ANZ managing director retail, Katherine Bray said.
"Whenever we have to make a tough decision to close any of our branches, we notify customers and let them know about all the alternatives they have available, including specialist teams that can help them."
She said most affected employees have historically been able to find new roles within ANZ.
It comes after ANZ shuttered 91 branches across 2020, while CommBank closed 19 branches and Westpac shut 10. NAB also closed nine branches in 2020.
There were around 5,816 bank branches across Australia as of June 2020, after falling by 640 over the three years to that date.
Yahoo Finance has contacted ANZ for comment.