• Hannah Phillips

Regional Banks Closing Doors on Local Communities

Regional areas rely heavily on local businesses and services to ensure towns stay alive, with basic facilities like grocers, post offices, mechanical services and banks, all necessities in any local community.

Without these services, longevity of the town is questioned.

Over the past few months a lot of regional towns across Australia and Flow's broadcast region have seen final closure notices put up on their bank windows.

Closures of major bank branches in Flow's areas include: National Australia Bank (NAB) in Kapunda SA, Burra SA, Lockhart NSW and Culcairn NSW, Australia New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) in Corowa NSW, Ouyen Vic, Warracknabeal Vic, Commonwealth Bank in Clare, SA and Bank SA in Maitland SA.

These towns, with different bank branches and facilities all face the impending question of what next?

If we take the town of Ouyen as an example, the next ANZ bank branch is over 100 km away, now making a 5 minute trip to the bank an almost 300 km round trip in the car and an entire day's commitment.

In Burra SA, the town has already seen the closure of a local bank branch, which left many of the locals transferring their accounts to the remaining NAB branch in town.

Now, they're faced with the same problem again as NAB has announced it will officially close up shop come October.

Sarah spoke to Helen Szuty about the situation and what others should do in this situation.

Due to these towns no longer having access to banking facilities, Post Offices will soon be the only local banking service available, with limitations to what they can offer.

Sarah caught up with the Kapunda Post Office to find out what will be available once the town says goodbye to their local NAB Branch.

This is an issue right across our regional and rural areas, with many banks explaining the closures are due to an increase in online banking, and less foot traffic in these particular branches.

But when it comes to our country towns, there are still many people who slip through the cracks of this explanation, such as the elderly and those who live in areas with unreliable internet access.

Sarah spoke to ANZ District Manager for North West Victoria, Kristine Daniels, to find out more.

In recent weeks, we've seen national banks offer assistance or lenience to farmers affected by harsh drought conditions, however, they still continue to shut the doors of local branches in many farming communities.

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