Westpac backflips on 8 branch closures: 'Right thing to do'
Eight regional bank branches will remain open indefinitely.
Westpac has ditched its plans to shut a number of regional bank branches across Australia, as a senate inquiry into bank closures continues.
The major bank announced it would keep eight branches - previously earmarked for closure - open indefinitely, following discussions with customers and employees.
The branches that have been saved from closure are Cloncurry, Ingham, Tully and Gatton in Queensland, Sale and Robinvale in Victoria, Denmark in Western Australia, and a BankSA branch in Kingston in South Australia.
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A senate inquiry into regional bank closures is currently underway, following the closure of more than 80 branches across the country since September 2022.
The Finance Sector Union (FSU) noted the senate inquiry was due to take evidence in Cloncurry and Ingham next week.
Westpac posted a $4 billion net profit in its half-yearly results this week, up 22 per cent compared to this time last year.
‘Cancel closures everywhere’
FSU national secretary Julia Angrisano said Westpac needed to go further and keep open all 20 branches it had earmarked for closure. This includes branches in Newtown and Potts Point in NSW, Kin Kora and Milton in Queensland, and Brandon Park in Victoria.
“By giving eight bank branches a reprieve, it has ignored communities and bank workers at the other branches,” Angrisano said.
“While everyone agrees this decision is the right thing to do, Westpac needs to be fair dinkum and cancel the closure of all 20 branches.”
Angrisano said Westpac needed to provide access to all Australians no matter where they lived.
“That doesn’t mean travelling 100 kilometres to the next branch or lining up at already-overworked post offices,” Angrisano said.
“If Westpac can cancel closures in some areas because of a senate inquiry, it should cancel closures everywhere.”
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