NAB to keep regional branches open until 2021

NAB to keep regional branches open until 2021


Farm Online News
NAB says the commitment is an extension of its decision to not close branches in drought-affected communities.

NAB says the commitment is an extension of its decision to not close branches in drought-affected communities.

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The commitment was an extension of the bank's decision not to close any branches in drought-affected communities.

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The National Australia Bank has announced it will not close any regional bank branches across Australia until at least January 2021.

NAB CEO Phil Chronican said the commitment was an extension of the bank's recent decision not to close any branches in drought-affected communities.

"We are proud of our heritage in regional and rural Australia and we want our customers to know that our priority is to serve them," Mr Chronican said.

"We also know that regional and rural Australia is undergoing significant change - and impacts like bank branch closures are difficult for communities.

"The local NAB branch and the bankers we employ can play a key role in supporting communities and customers through change and this decision provides certainty that we will continue to be there for them."

There are 316 NAB branches in regional rural Australia which employ over 1600 people.

Despite the announcement, two already planned regional bank closures would go ahead. NAB would not say where those branches were because staff and the community had not been told yet.

Local knowledge that the local branch manager has about your town, your crop, your farming needs can't be replaced by centralising that to head office. - Julia Angrisano

"Both [are] located in regional cities that are home to multiple branch locations," NAB said in a statement.

The announcement comes after a sustained period of bank branch closure across the country. Financial Services Union figures showed that NAB closed more than 50 branches, mostly in regional communities, in the 18 months to March 2018.

Finance Sector Union of Australia national secretary Julia Angrisano said the announcement was "a very good sign" for the future of branch workers and for regional townspeople.

"The moratorium around closing drought affected branches was a solution the union proposed last year, this extension to all regional branches to 2021 is really good news," Ms Angrisano said.

Ms Angrisano was hopeful other banks would follow NAB's lead.

"Local knowledge that the local branch manager has about your town, your crop, your farming needs can't be replaced by centralising that to head office," she said.

"And there's also the element of branches being important for elderly customers."

NAB also announced it would open "customer connect centres" in Toowoomba, Tamworth, Bendigo and Bunbury to "better service regional, agribusiness and small business customers." The centres will employ 73 staff with the first opening in Toowoomba on April 1.

Any NAB agribusiness or small business customers in those regional areas can access over-the-phone or email consultation with expert bankers based at those centres.

There are 101 regional rural NAB branches in NSW, 71 in Victoria, 83 in Queensland, 31 in Western Australia, 17 in South Australia, eight in Tasmania and five in the Northern Territory.

smh.com.au

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