YARRAM’S community was shocked to discover one of its last remaining bank branches, Commonwealth Bank, will permanently close in the coming months.
The bank began notifying customers on Friday, August 20, that the last day of trade for the branch would be Friday, November 12.
According to Commonwealth Bank, visitor numbers to branches have fallen by 22 per cent since last year, with some branches seeing customer visits fall by more than 50 per cent.
Regional general manager David Castle said the bank undertakes regular reviews of its branch locations throughout Australia.
“Following a recent review, we made the difficult decision to permanently close our Yarram branch,” he said.
“This branch has had a 36 per cent drop in transactions over the five years before the coronavirus pandemic.
“Our people from Yarram branch will be offered redeployment opportunities, including roles supporting customers over the phone and online, or other comparable roles where it suits them.”
Mr Castle said for customers who require face-to-face banking, the Bank@Post service will be available at the nearby Yarram LPO Australia Post outlet.
“We’ve recently renewed this service until 2032, so customers can continue to make withdrawals, deposits, bill payments and passbook transactions during normal business hours,” he said.
“The Bank@Post service is also available for our customers in surrounding areas at Australia Post outlets in Alberton, Port Albert and Woodside.”
President of Yarram and District Traders Association, Alex Andrews, said the closure was deeply frustrating for residents, as a number of banks had already shut their doors in previous years.
“The only proper bank will be Bendigo Bank, which will be the only operating here at this stage by November,” he said.
“I see quite a lot of concern, not only just the businesses that rely purely on the Commonwealth Bank for change and bills, but the older demographic and farmers that don’t necessarily use online banking.
“But even also the community groups, like local sporting clubs or charity organisations.”
As the nearest Commonwealth Bank branches are located in Foster and Morwell, Mr Andrews said travel times would be enormous for residents.
“To travel, it’s an hour or so if they need to have face-to-face interaction or get support and advice for application forms and loans,” he said.
“It’s a pretty inconvenient system in place for people who need additional support and don’t necessarily have online systems.”