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Commonwealth Bank has announced that it will permanently close its branch in Renmark – a decision that’s spurred the town’s mayor to recommend that residents change banks.
CBA said in a statement that it made the decision to close Renmark because the branch had suffered a 44% drop in transactions over the past five years. The bank did not specify the date of the closure, according to a report.
Renmark Paringa Mayor Neil Martinson expressed disappointment with CBA’s decision. He urged CBA customers to consider changing banks rather than travelling 20 kilometres to the nearest branch in Berri.
“There’s no way older people will travel to Berri. If they have to change banks, then they should be changing banks to make sure they can do their business locally,” Martinson said. “If you’re not happy with the Commonwealth Bank service then change banks. We’ve got the National Bank, Westpac Bank and also BankSA.”
Martinson said that some of the staff at CBA’s Renmark branch had been working there for more than 30 years.
The Riverland, like other regional areas, has seen the closure of several bank branches over the past 20 years, including National Australia Bank in Berri and BankSA and ANZ in Barmera, ABC News reported.
“It’s a trend as far as the banking industry is concerned because everybody is trying to do stuff on mobile phones and computers,” Martinson told the news outlet. “But the older community doesn’t necessarily have that ability, or even have a computer or a mobile phone.”
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Sally Gubbin, regional general manager at CBA, said the decision to close the Renmark branch came after a review of branches across the country. She said that there would be no job losses, and that local customers could access face-to-face services at the Berri branch or through the post office.
Gubbin said that customers were increasingly choosing to bank online, and that nearly 20% of customers from Renmark had already visited CBA’s Berri branch. Gubbin also said that older customers were increasingly using digital banking technology.
“Customers in older demographics are actively engaging with CBA online,” Gubbin told ABC News. “For customers over the age of 60, more than twice as many had accessed NetBank or the CommBank app in the past month, compared to the number who had visited a branch in the last three months.”
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