ANZ decision to close Narromine branch on May 23 criticised by mayor Craig Davies

Leaving town: Narromine's ANZ branch will close its doors for the last time on May 23 in a move the bank has blamed on changing habits of customers.
Leaving town: Narromine's ANZ branch will close its doors for the last time on May 23 in a move the bank has blamed on changing habits of customers.

Narromine mayor Craig Davies has slammed a decision by ANZ to close its branch in the town, calling it a lack of loyalty to customers and the community.

“It’s a difficult decision to understand when the ANZ reported profits of more than $6 billion in 2017, a 15 per cent increase on the previous year. How can they tell me they’re not making any money in Narromine?”

“I hope businesses show them the same loyalty they have shown us.”

The ANZ confirmed it would shut the Narromine branch on Wednesday, May 23, blaming the closure on a 40 per cent drop in over-the-counter transactions.

“Customers have been changing the way they do their banking in recent years with more of them using online options and ATMs rather than visiting our branches,” ANZ general manager NSW and ACT Amanda Heath-Ogden said.

“Of our customers who have Narromine as their home branch, only 14 per cent use the branch with 51 per cent preferring internet or mobile banking.

“Over-the-counter transactions at the branch have fallen about 40 per cent at the branch over the past four years.”

Cr Davies said there had been no consultation with the council before the ANZ made their decision.

He conceded it was never good for a town to lose a bank but said he was very positive about Narromine’s future.

“From our perspective it’s shortsighted. We are a growing shire and they will miss out on the opportunities that are coming in,” Cr Davies said.

“This council is working hard on bringing development into town and we are already seeing the green shoots of this. Narromine isn’t going to get any smaller, it’s going to get bigger.”

He said businesses and the elderly were most likely to be affected by the closure, which will occur in May.

“The bank has been pretty quick to say it was because of a downturn in people coming in and saying most things can be done over the internet but the elderly don’t want to use e-commerce,” Cr Davies said.

“Other banks have shortened their opening hours and people are able to work around that. The ANZ had that option too but they went straight past that.

“I would encourage business and land owners to talk to the two banks that have branches in town, not out of spite but to help keep them in town.”

The ANZ said it was consulting with staff to support them through the transition and said where possible it would redeploy them within the bank.