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NAB responds to closure of ‘dozens of branches’ as picture shows line out the door

Locals in Queensland have hit back at claims their branch deserves to shut due to decreased foot traffic

NAB has dismissed reports that “dozens” of branches are about to close as a customer shares a picture of an “underused” bank with a line out the door.

The bank, the second-largest in Australia, clarified to Yahoo Finance that 13 branches in New South Wales, Victoria, the ACT, and Queensland were earmarked for closure in 2024 after media reports claimed 36 were due to shut. A spokesperson said the discrepancy was due to some branches already being closed down last year.

NAB said the reason behind the move was a decline in customers coming into branches, instead opting to do their banking online. However, a customer has shared an image of a Queensland branch on Bribie Island - that is due to close tomorrow - with a line-up of customers waiting.

People lining at up NAB
One NAB branch in Queensland shows people lining out the door. (Source: Facebook/Anne T Soshil) (Facebook/Anne T Soshil)

“This is the NAB branch that closes this week as it’s under-utilised,” the Bongaree local wrote. “There were 2 other customers sitting down waiting for service. They [NAB] based their decision on how many people come 3 or more times per month. They didn’t disclose how many customers actually use the branch every month. Well done NAB. Well done.”

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The customers are facing a 26-kilometre journey to do their banking in-person, however there is the option to withdraw cash, deposit cash and cheques, and check their balance at a Post Office that’s less than 1km away.

NAB said the number of people visiting the Bribie Island branch had declined, with 3,700 coming in 2022 compared to 5,300 two years earlier.

Which NAB branches are closing in 2024?

New South Wales

  • Broadway (February 1)

  • Balmain (March 7)

  • Scone (March 7)

  • Oberon (April 23)

  • Lithgow (April 24)

Victoria

  • Mount Waverley (February 1)

  • Whittlesea (February 1)

  • Emerald (March 7)

  • Bright (April 18)

Australian Capital Territory

  • Tuggeranong (March 7)

Queensland

  • Bribie Island (February 1)

  • Runaway Bay (March 7)

  • Pittsworth (April 18)

Banks justify closures as customers move online

NAB retail executive Krissie Jones said customers were driving the “largest transformation in banking in Australia’s history”, and that closures had been done with community consultation.

“Our customers now have banking technology at their fingertips, through their device, and more than 93 per cent of customer transactions now take place online,” Jones told Yahoo Finance.

“We acknowledge that big change is not always easy and reshaping our branch network sometimes requires difficult decisions. These decisions are made with the community and our customers in mind, while also taking into account a broad range of factors like the number of customers using our branches, our ability to staff our branches and how we ensure a consistent level of customer service, in-person and online.”

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NAB isn’t the only bank shutting down branches. ANZ copped heat for a similar move last

year, along with Commonwealth Bank and Westpac.

CommBank has committed to keeping its regional branches open until the end of 2025, but would not make a commitment beyond then and noted running costs were around $400 million a year.

Meanwhile, CommBank subsidiary Bankwest announced this week it would be shutting three more branches in Western Australia, the only state it has a physical presence in.

CommBank chief executive and managing director Matt Comyn, who oversees Bankwest, said the financial institution was “moving into a predominantly digital and, probably over time, solely digital-only” enterprise.

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