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ANZ slammed over branch closures: ‘Clearly don’t care’

The senate inquiry into branch closures has exposed a major flaw in ANZ’s decision-making process.

The exterior of an ANZ branch
ANZ has been slammed for how it decides to close physical branches. (Source: Getty)

Senior executives at ANZ have been forced to admit the bank does not consult the community before branches are closed.

In evidence before the senate inquiry for branch closures, ANZ senior executives admitted all decisions about branch closures were taken by managers in state capital cities, and local communities had no opportunity to voice objections about the impact.

Finance Sector Union (FSU) local executive secretary Wendy Streets said branch closures were about cutting costs and boosting profits.

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“The community must be consulted when banks are considering closures,” Streets said.

“ANZ clearly does not care about the impact branch closures have on customers or staff but it’s time they were made to properly consult prior to a bank branch being closed.”

ANZ gave evidence that no Suncorp branches would close for three years if its proposed merger went ahead but gave no guarantee that ANZ branches in the same town would not shut.

“These banks are given the right to operate as financial institutions and make billions of dollars for their shareholders but, in return, the community expects banks to act in the public interest as well,” Streets said.

“Telling a senate inquiry that ANZ operates according to law and has no concept of a ‘social licence’ is a huge problem for the bank.

“No wonder inquiry chair Senator Matt Canavan expressed his disgust with the ‘contempt’ banks are showing the community.”

The FSU is calling for banks to adhere to minimum service standards, a new mandatory code for branch closures, community-impact assessments before closures and an appeal mechanism for customers.

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