NAB says changes weren’t a sign of im­mi­nent branch clo­sure

Alpine Observer - - News - BY TATE SPITERI

NAB has de­nied sug­ges­tions that changes to the Myrtle­ford branches open­ing hours were the first moves to close the bank.

“We con­tin­u­ally mon­i­tor our branch net­work to en­sure it aligns with how our cus­tomers choose to bank with us,” NAB gen­eral man­ager of Vic­to­rian Re­tail Mary Scoutas said.

Fol­low­ing NAB’s an­nounce­ment last month that the branch would close on May 17 some lo­cal peo­ple noted the change in hours.

In 2016 the bank changed their open­ing hours to 9.30am to 4pm with a one hour lunch clo­sure in ef­fect be­tween 12.30pm and 1.30pm mak­ing the store open for just five and a half hours a day.

For­mer NAB cus­tomer Jen­nifer Leita said it be­came im­pos­si­ble to bank at the branch.

“The bank still wasn’t open at 9.50am on three oc­ca­sions when I at­tempted to bank,” she said.

Ms Leita’s lunch break also co­in­cided with the NAB lunch clo­sure mak­ing it im­pos­si­ble for her to bank dur­ing the day.

“The branch used to be open un­til 5pm on a Fri­day which gave me a chance to do my bank­ing but even that op­por­tu­nity was taken away,” she said.

The Myrtle­ford bank is one of over 50 clo­sures across re­gional Vic­to­ria and New South Wales over the last 18 months draw­ing the Fi­nance Sec­tor Union’s Na­tional Sec­re­tary Ju­lia An­grisano to ques­tion whether the ‘big four’ bank was putting prof­its be­fore their cus­tomers.

“When a branch in an area like this closes, it hurts work­ers in ar­eas where jobs are scarce, as well as the com­mu­nity and its lo­cal econ­omy,” she said.

“Banks have an obli­ga­tion to the com­mu­ni­ties that sup­port them.

“NAB is ag­gres­sively clos­ing some branches and re­duc­ing the op­er­at­ing hours of oth­ers at the same time that it’s re­port­ing $6.64 bil­lion in prof­its.”

Ms Leita also re­vealed that tell­ers at the Myrtle­ford bank had be­gun di­rect­ing her to­wards mo­bile ser­vices even when she vis­ited the bank.

When asked if prac­tices like this were a bet­ter way of pre­par­ing cus­tomers for life with­out the Myrtle­ford branch Ms Scoutas said many peo­ple found speak­ing over the phone or mo­bile bank­ing much more con­ve­nient.

“We think it’s im­por­tant to give peo­ple op­por­tu­ni­ties to bank with us when, where and how it suits them,” she said.

“This is why we have a re­la­tion­ship with Aus­tralia Post so that our cus­tomers can con­tinue to bank with us in per­son by drop­ping by the post of­fice on Clyde Street.”

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