Finance Sector Union of Australia (FSU) National Secretary Julia Angrisano has condemned the hypocrisy of the Westpac Group for closing 13 branches and cutting 63 jobs.
The shock announcement came after chief executive Brian Hartzer appeared before a Parliamentary Committee just last week saying: “All of us want a strong banking system that delivers good outcomes for customers and the economy as a whole.”
“At Westpac we recognise that building a strong service culture is essential to winning back trust,” Mr Hartzer told the House Economics Committee.
“Exactly what the Westpac boss was talking about is hard to understand given the bank has now slashed its network by another 13 branches, across the Westpac brand, and subsidiaries St George Bank, Bank of Melbourne and BankSA,” said Finance Sector Union National Secretary Julia Angrisano.
“Once these new closures go ahead, Westpac will have closed 36 branches just this year, pulling the rug out from beneath communities across Australia,” Ms Angrisano said.
Ms Angrisano said banking was seen by the community as an essential service but the big banks continue to see the community as an opportunity to extract profits, and if those profits aren’t large enough, branches are shut.
“Brian Hartzer does not seem to understand the banks need to rebuild trust in the community, not abandon the community. And the staff who are losing their jobs can’t understand how these closures produce good outcomes for the community and provide a strong service culture.”
“This is an outrageous reaction to the mauling all the banks have had at the Hayne Royal Commission. Instead of closing branches the banks should be doing everything they can to meet the needs of their customers.”
“We know a number of groups in the community, including the elderly and business sector, value branches and they are likely to see these closures as a short-sighted decision that will harm the local area and the local economy.”
Ms Angrisano demanded Westpac maximise redeployment opportunities from impacted staff and consult with workers, communities and the FSU about the future of its branch network.”
Branches being closed.
Hutt St Adelaide, SA.
Sugarland Shoppingtown, QLD.
Bunbury Forum, Bunbury WA.
Torrens Park, SA.
Norwest Business Park, Baulkham Hills, NSW.
Wentworthville Mall, NSW.
Bank of Mebourne
Mt Waverley, Vic.
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