Westpac is closing another 23 stores across Australia.  Here you are

Westpac is closing another 23 stores across Australia. Here you are

Westpac is expected to close a further 23 stores across Australia, costing 92 jobs.

The final branches are among the 95 Westpac have closed in the past four months, Julia Angrisano, national secretary of the Finance Sector Union, said in a statement.

A Westpac spokesman said the closures were due to a change in consumer behavior as more customers are choosing to bank online, leading to a drop in the number of customers visiting branches in person.

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Last month, Westpac Group announced the closure of 24 stores after another 24 closed in August.

Angrisano said the move had employees at the remaining branches fearing their bank would be next to close.

The Westpac Group, which includes St George Bank, Bank of Melbourne and Bank SA, is also closing the branches of its subsidiaries.

“This is the most appalling decimation of a branch network by a bank that is now on the brink of abandoning its social contract with the community,” Angrisano said.

General view of the signage in a Westpac branch. image file. Recognition: Jacob Ross/PAA

“Hundreds of bank jobs were lost when Westpac destroyed what was left of its branches.

“Clearly, meeting customers’ banking needs is being ignored as Westpac pursues cost savings by lowering its brick and mortar and labor costs.”

Angrisano said customers shouldn’t believe Westpac’s “spin” that branches will be closed because consumers prefer digital banking.

“These suburbs and cities are losing their banks because Westpac isn’t making enough profits from selling new loans, insurance policies and credit cards in their area,” she said.

“This process is particularly difficult for frontline workers.”

Employees at the stores affected by the closures told the union the changes were “emotionally draining”.

“The impact on the mental health of everyone at the facility is huge and taking its toll,” said one employee.

“We are remote, what our job opportunities are is anyone’s guess, we all face a very uncertain future.”

store closures

Westpac: NSW: Hay, Moree, Campbelltown; Queensland: Port Douglas; Victoria: Beaumaris, Endeavor Hills, Gisborne; WA: Karnamah; SA: Coober Pedy; NT: Katherine.

St George: Queensland: Townsville, Cairns; NSW: North Sydney; ACT: Weston.

Bank of Melbourne: Greensborough, Horsham, Prahran, Shepparton, Sunshine

Bank SA: Greenacres, Kapunda, Port Adelaide, Tailem Bend

Angrisano said the closures would have a major impact on cities losing their last bank branch.

These towns include Coober Pedy, Carnamah, Kapunda and Tailem Bend.

Hay in NSW will only have one Commonwealth Bank when the local Westpac branch closes.

“We need the federal government to step in and stop the banks from leaving regional Australia,” Angrisano said.

“Regional communities cannot trust the banks to do the right thing because when they consider whether to close branches they only consider their massive profits.

“They don’t care about bank employees and the communities that will be affected by their decisions to close branch doors.”

Westpac answers

A Westpac spokesman said the closures were due to a change in consumer behavior as more customers are choosing to bank online, leading to a drop in the number of customers visiting branches in person.

“When we make the decision to close a branch, we consider a number of factors including usage, location and proximity to other banking services,” the spokesman said.

“In these cases, we continue to support our customers by expanding access via digital and online banking, bank@post, telephone, mobile and virtual banking.

“For those who are new to digital banking or need more support with the changes, we offer dedicated support and training to ease the transition.

“We continue to invest across our brands by creating a more connected branch network with new technology, which means that for the first time, any St George, Bank of Melbourne or BankSA customer will soon be able to manage their cash transactions to a Westpac branch to be dealt with and vice versa.

“This builds on our ongoing program of co-locations, bringing two Westpac Group offices together under one roof.

“More than 30 branches have been merged to date, allowing us to have a long-term commitment to providing jobs and banking services to these communities, with new and improved branch locations opening in Dubbo, Lismore, Wagga Wagga and Stirling in recent months.”

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