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ANZ to shut more regional branches: ‘Death knell’

ANZ customers in Mudgee and Lithgow will no longer have a local branch.

The exterior of an ANZ branch
ANZ will close two more regional branches. (Source: Getty)

ANZ has confirmed it will permanently close its branches and ATMs in Mudgee and Lithgow, in regional NSW, on April 19, with local communities expressing their disappointment with the decision.

Accounts held in the Mudgee branch will be transferred to Dubbo and accounts at the Lithgow branch will be transferred to Katoomba.

Member for Calare Andrew Gee said the branch closures would be devastating for local residents, and businesses who relied on in-branch services, Mudgee’s 87.6FM reported.

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“ANZ has sounded the death knell for its Lithgow and Mudgee branches, despite announcing a $6.55 billion cash profit over the last year,” Gee said.

“ANZ’s decision to ditch bricks-and-mortar branches in the vibrant and thriving towns of Lithgow and Mudgee shows that the bank cares little, if at all, for its loyal country customers who rely on face-to-face banking.

“The big banks are out of touch with country communities, too busy dreaming of their dollars or marvelling at their profit margins to think about the people they are supposed to serve.”

The drive from Mudgee to Dubbo is around an hour and a half, while the drive from Lithgow to Katoomba is around 45 minutes.

Banks pulling out of regions

ANZ is not the only bank guilty of closing regional branches. Westpac recently announced it would close down another 23 branches across Australia, including in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia.

Impacted towns included Coober Pedy, Kapunda and Tailem Bend in South Australia, and Carnamah in Western Australia.

This came after three of Australia’s Big Four banks moved to close another 37 branches across the country back in August last year.

The Finance Sector Union (FSU) said the closing down of bank branches had reached a “crisis point” and said the government must intervene.

“This latest list of closures means the Big Four have closed more than 550 bank branches across Australia since January 2020,” FSU national secretary Julia Angrisano said.

“We must act to stop the banks walking away from communities in our suburbs and towns. It’s time to examine the impact of these closures, which have hit hundreds of communities across the country.”

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