Deniliquin Pastoral Times

Early closure ‘disappoint­ing’


Commonweal­th Bank of Australia branches are closing from 1pm daily at 90 locations across the country, including in Deniliquin.

Under the new system, regional branches will open from 9.30am to 1pm, with staff spending the rest of their day as call centre operators, serving customers from all over Australia.

The move to reduce hours at Deniliquin comes just four months after the Finley CBA branch was closed, in April this year.

An advertisem­ent in The Australian newspaper’s business section is the only promotion the PASTORAL TIMES has seen for the changes to date.

CBA executive general manager of customer service network Mark Jones said the shift was an example of how CBA was adapting to ‘‘meet changing customers’ evolving needs’’ and ‘‘ensuring jobs stay in regional communitie­s’’.

But a Deniliquin CBA customer told the PASTORAL TIMES the absolute contempt for rural communitie­s by the bank was ‘‘extremely disappoint­ing’’.

‘‘It’s no secret that banks do not want customers in their branches so they can cut more staff and make more savings while recording obscene profits,” the disgruntle­d customer said.

The bank says branches chosen to reduce their operating hours will retain an ATM accessible to the community at all hours.

Mr Jones said affected customers ‘‘who prefer face-to-face banking services’’ are encouraged to use CBA’s Bank@Post service via Australia Post.

‘‘We understand these changes may be an adjustment for some of our customers, and the team at their local branch will continue to be available to help them find the solutions that best suit their needs,’’ Mr Jones said.

However, there was a different customer response.

‘‘Corporate Australia currently has a ‘love affair’ with the environmen­t and going green, but too many of these large organisati­ons have totally forgotten about their social responsibi­lities, especially in rural communitie­s,’’ the local customer said.

‘‘How can the Commonweal­th Bank justify reducing its service levels the week after it announced a profit of more than $10 billion . . . that’s billion dollars.

‘‘This decision to have a branch in a regional town like Deniliquin open for less than 18 hours a week is disgracefu­l.

‘‘And to use the excuse that it is being done ‘to help meet the changing needs of our customers’ is a total insult to these customers and our community. It’s being done for no other reason than to help the bank’s bottom line.

‘‘This is the thanks that loyal local customers get for supporting the Commonweal­th Bank for more than a century.’’

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