Australind to lose ANZ

Nicolette BarbasSouth Western Times
ANZ Bank.Picture: WILLIAM WEST
Camera IconANZ Bank.Picture: WILLIAM WEST Credit: WILLIAM WEST/METHODE

Over the past few years, a number of bank branches around the South West region have fallen victim to the fast-paced digital world.

But while the younger, technology-driven generation appear to be on top of technical shifts, the elderly are finding themselves left behind. Due to close in November, the ANZ Australind branch has been the local bank for many residents in the town, including Vern Patterson.

“I was parked outside the bank waiting for it to open one morning and noticed all of the customers waiting outside were old people,” Mr Patterson said.

“I’m in my late 80s, my closest branch is Bunbury but I’m not going all the way there to then have to find somewhere to park and get a parking ticket so my only option is to travel to Harvey.”

ANZ district manager Mathew Back said that each year the bank recorded a 10 per cent reduction in customer transactions.

“An increasing majority of our customers prefer to do their banking when it suits them,” he said.

“Our apps and call centres are convenient and we’ve also seen a number of passbook customers opting for debit cards recently.”

Mr Back said the bank recognised the transition would be more challenging for some customers.

“We will work individually with our vulnerable and elderly customers to help them with alternative branches, digital options, using the contact centre and debit cards,” Mr Back said.

“Customers who want to continue face-to-face banking can do so at any of our ANZ branches, including the nearby Bunbury branch.”

While two Westpac branches in the South West have closed in the past two years, a Westpac spokesperson said there are still 12 branches operating in the region.

“There has been a rapid adoption of digital banking and a move away from cash in recent years,” they said.

“When making any decision to close a branch, we consider the shift in customer needs and a range of factors such as usage of that branch, location, and proximity to other banking services.”

A NAB spokesperson said the bank was continually assessing where their customers are and how to best serve them.

“While local branches are important, our customers have been coming into the branch less and increasingly using digital or phone banking,” they said.

“Since announcing in March 2019 we would keep all rural branches open until January 2021, our branch network in the South West has remained unchanged.”

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