ANZ bank is closing 19 branches across Australia as customers overwhelmingly flock to the bank’s online portals instead of banking face-to-face.
Some branches across NSW, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania will close in 2021 as the COVID-19 pandemic speeds up consumer confidence in online banking.
Some of the branches slated to close include Ashfield (NSW), Kiama (NSW), West End (Qld), Torquay (Vic) and Sandy Bay (Tas).
Katherine Bray, ANZ’s Managing Director of Retail, said the bank was simply reflecting the changing habits of its customers.
“Last year alone 70 per cent of our customers preferred digital banking options. Even our few remaining passbook customers have been choosing to use debit cards for the first time,” Ms Bray said in a statement.
“Only 12 per cent of our customers used branches during the same time, which means we were only completing about one transaction per customer per month over the counter.
“This follows a longer term trend that saw in-branch transactions drop on average about 50 per cent over the past four years.”
Finance Sector Union National Secretary Julia Angrisano said around 105 staff will be affected by the closures.
Those ANZ Bank staff have told the Union they are shattered at the prospect of losing their jobs at a time of such uncertainty, with little prospect of getting more work,” Ms Angrisano said.
“It is clear the ANZ Bank does not care about its staff or the community. Over the past year the bank has stepped up its branch closure program, putting people before profits, with hundreds of staff being thrown onto the unemployment scrapheap.”
Ms Bray said in previous branch closures the staff were offered roles within the ANZ business, even those who were working in remote or regional areas.
“Whenever we have to make a tough decision to close any of our branches, we notify customers and let them know about all the alternatives they have available, including specialist teams on the ground in their region that can help them,” Ms Bray said.
“Of our employees that were working in a branch that closed last year, we were able to find new roles or redeployment opportunities for nearly all of them that wanted to stay with ANZ, including at remote locations.
“These were some of our most experienced staff and we redeployed them to where our customers need them most.”
Staff who wish to leave the bank will be provided access to “unlimited” career coaching and outplacement support.
Those who find themselves in financial hardship will also be provided to access to the bank’s Past Employee Care Fund.