Westpac Group is planning to shut down 48 bank branches across Australia in a major branch network restructure.
The closures will include St George, Bank SA and Bank of Melbourne branches, in addition to Westpac branches. Most banks involved will close, although some will co-locate with other bank branches under the same Westpac Group umbrella.
Westpac said the bank was working through the proposed changes with staff, and said of those set to close or co-locate, 21 are already temporarily closed.
"Westpac continues to follow our customers by investing in the ways they are choosing to bank. This follows a seismic shift toward digital and cash-less banking, and declining foot traffic in bank branches, particularly in urban and metropolitan areas," the spokesperson said.
"When we do close a branch, it is not a decision we take lightly. We take into consideration customer usage, location and proximity to other banking services. We are currently in consultation with our people regarding branches in metro areas with low utilisation, where there is a nearby branch within 5 kilometres and where customers are preferring the convenience and increased safety of contactless, cashless and digital channels."
However, Finance Sector Union national secretary Julia Angrisano blasted the move.
“Westpac is deserting its customers and its staff by closing branches to shore up its profits,” Angrisano said.
“Older customers who use bank branch networks will be the most affected by this shutdown.”
She said Westpac and other major banks are using COVID-19 and the associated shift in consumer behaviour as a reason to shut branches.
“This is an outrageous move by a bank which can expect a savage community backlash for this decision,” she said.
“This is nothing more than a grab for profits by Westpac which will allow the bank to save on salaries and rents.”
The FSU said that while Westpac is working to redeploy staff, there will be redundancies across multiple locations.
These are the branches that are closing:
242 Castlereagh St, Sydney (NSW)
Avalon Beach (NSW)
Dubbo (NSW) - ‘Co-locating’ to St George Bank in Dubbo
Five Dock (NSW)
Lithgow (NSW) - ‘Co-locating’ to St George Bank in Lithgow
La Trobe University (VIC)
114 William St, Melbourne (VIC)
Monash University (VIC)
University Hill (VIC)
Victoria Harbour (VIC)
Surry Hills (NSW)
Mount Eliza (VIC)
North Melbourne (VIC)
Seaford Central (VIC)
Murray Bridge (SA) - ‘Co-locating’ to Bank of SA in Murray Bridge
Port Augusta (SA) - ‘Co-locating’ to Bank of SA in Port Augusta
Tanunda (SA) - ‘Co-locating’ to Bank of SA in Tanunda
Victoria Point (QLD)
Mackay North (QLD) - transitioning all activity to Mackay branch
West Perth (WA)
St George Bank branches
Grafton (NSW) - ‘Co-locating’ to Westpac in Grafton
Kippax Fair (ACT)
Bank of Melbourne branches
Brunswick Barkly Square (VIC)
Burwood East (VIC)
Ferntree Gully (VIC)
Forest Hill (VIC)
Karingal Shopping Centre (VIC) - closing
Mildura (VIC) - ‘Co-locating’ to Westpac Bank in Mildura
St Kilda (VIC)
Warrnambool (VIC) - ‘Co-locating’ to Westpac Bank in Warrnambool
Bank SA branches
Churchill Centre (SA)
North Adelaide (SA
It comes as Westpac mulls a major restructure of its New Zealand business, with a demerger potentially on the cards.