Westpac has been slammed for its “savage” closure program with more sites set to be shuttered across the country.
In the past six months, the major bank has closed 20 branches and this week confirmed it will axe two more Sydney branches, located in Neutral Bay and Mortdale, on April 21.
In the past six months, the major bank has closed 20 branches across Australia.
“The decision to close a branch is not made lightly,” a Westpac spokesperson said.
“We consider several factors such as branch usage, customer demographics, location, and proximity to other transaction banking services, including other local branches and our Bank@Post service.
“We are witnessing a significant change to the way people are choosing to bank. Customers are using branches less, for fewer reasons, and choosing to use digital and virtual banking more often, allowing them to do their banking from home or work.”
Some 96 per cent of the bank’s transactions are done digitally, the spokesperson added.
Finance Sector Union National secretary Julia Angrisano said Westpac is “ignoring community concern”.
The Finance Sector Union (FSU) said Westpac is “ignoring community concern” by closing branches, at the same time it has agreed to a moratorium on regional closures while a Senate inquiry is under way.
“This bank doesn’t care about customers or staff. It only cares about profits,” Finance Sector Union National secretary Julia Angrisano said.
“By closing branches, Westpac is making sure its billion-dollar profits are pumped up so senior executives keep their fat bonuses coming in.
“We know bank customers are under financial stress as rising interest rates and the cost of living eat into their pay packets.
“At a time like this many customers will want to be able to go to their local branch and seek help to manage their finances.”
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Ms Angrisano said while all Big Four banks use the excuse of branches closing due to a trend in digital banking, “our members tell us they are forced to push customers to online banking whenever they go to a branch.”
“So much for Westpac’s announcement it would join a moratorium on regional branch closures,” she said.
“Once the Senate inquiry concludes, we know the bank will keep closing branches no matter what the Inquiry recommends.”