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