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Major set to slash multiple branches after “seismic” customer shift

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    In the biggest ever downsizing move by a major Australian bank, Westpac is set to close or amalgamate up to 48 branches across the country, including Westpac, St. George and Bank of Melbourne brands.

    “When we do close a branch, it is not a decision we take lightly,” a Westpac source told The Australian, which broke the news. “We take into consideration customer usage, location and proximity to other banking services.”

    The news came out as the Financial Services Union leaked a memo from the bank to its members announcing the decision, which the union claims will affect a large number of staff.

    “The closures affect the jobs and livelihoods of 165 staff,” the FSU said in a statement. “Staff at the affected branches have been notified. A process of redeployment has been proposed by the bank. However, redundancies are also likely in many locations.”

    Westpac has said that its focus is little used branches in metropolitan areas where there is another branch within a 5 kilometre radius, although there are a number on the list from regional towns.

    The move follows a number of closures by other Australian banks as a “seismic” shift from bricks and mortar banking has been accelerated by the COVID pandemic.

    While the closures may cause problems for some customers, there is, perhaps, a silver lining to the cutbacks.

    “It is likely that if more branch closures occur, brokers will become a vital point-of-contact as consumers continue to use online platforms for all transactions accept major ones,” IBISWorld analyst Tommy Wu told MPA.

    “The closure of bank branches may lead to more people seeking out traditional face-to-face financial relationships. Consumers are often hesitant to make large financial decisions without consulting a financial professional.”

    This news follows Westpac’s sale of business units and the news that it might even divest itself of its entire NZ business.

    Branches that the FSU says will be impacted:

    Bank of Melbourne

    • Balwyn VIC
    • Berwick VIC
    • Brunswick Barkly Square VIC
    • Bundoora VIC
    • Burwood East VIC
    • Carnegie VIC
    • Ferntree Gully VIC
    • Forest Hill VIC
    • Hawthorn VIC
    • Ivanhoe VIC
    • Mildura VIC
    • Karingal Shopping Centre VIC
    • Mentone VIC
    • Oakleigh VIC
    • Rowville VIC
    • St Kilda VIC
    • Springvale VIC
    • Toorak VIC
    • Warrnambool VIC

    Bank of South Australia

    • Magill SA
    • North Adelaide SA
    • Churchill Centre SA

    St George Bank

    • Budgewoi NSW
    • Kippax Fair ACT
    • Grafton NSW

    Westpac

    • 114 William St, Melbourne VIC
    • 242 Castlereagh St, Sydney NSW
    • Avalon Beach NSW
    • Belmont VIC
    • Dubbo NSW
    • Five Dock NSW
    • La Trobe University VIC
    • Lithgow NSW
    • Mackay North QLD
    • Monash University VIC
    • Mount Eliza VIC
    • Murray Bridge SA
    • Newington NSW
    • North Melbourne VIC
    • Port Augusta SA
    • Tanunda SA
    • Seaford Central VIC
    • Surry Hills NSW
    • University Hill VIC
    • Victoria Point QLD
    • Victoria Harbour VIC
    • Wanneroo WA
    • West Perth WA

    Original Article