The Finance Sector Union has been notified by the Westpac Group that it is shutting down 48 bank branches and amalgamating others in a major reduction in its national branch network. (See list below).
The closures affect the jobs and livlihoods of 165 staff.
The closures involve branches under the Westpac, St George, Bank SA and Bank of Melbourne brands.
In FSU has been notified that in most locations where banks will close, customers will have to go to other bank branches to do their banking.
In other areas a process of ‘co-branding’ will mean one branch will close with customers urged to go to another Westpac Group bank where two bank brands will trade from the same branch.
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.
FSU National Secretary Julia Angrisano said this series of branch closures by the Westpac Group was the largest ever by a major bank and called into question Westpac’s commitment to proving service to its customers.
“Westpac is deserting its customers and its staff by closing branches to shore up its profits,” Ms Angrisano said.
“This shutdown of so many branches is of major concern to our members and will impact on a large number of staff, banking customers and businesses around Australia.”
“Westpac will claim the decision to close branches is because consumers are moving to internet banking but that’s not the case.”
“If these branches were making large profits for the bank they would not be closing.”
“Every bank branch must return profits through the ‘sale’ of extra banking products such as new loans, insurance policies and new credit cards for example.”
“If they do not meet their quota of profits, the branches are shut down.”
“Older customers who use bank branch networks will be the most affected by this shutdown.”
Ms Angrisano said the banks are using Covid to claim the numbers of transactions in branches are down and they are no longer required by customers.”
“Banks were deemed to be an essential service and allowed to trade during last year’s national Covid lockdown but suddenly Westpac decides that its branch network is no longer essential.”
“This is an outrageous move by a bank which can expect a savage community backlash for this decision.”
“This is nothing more than a grab for profits by Westpac which will allow the bank to save on salaries and rents.”