ANZ Beverley’s closure ‘disrespectful’ to customers
Beverley’s only bank is closing its doors, causing angst among the tight-knit farming community and leaving its customers facing a 130km round trip to Northam.
ANZ has “personally notified” its Beverley customers it will shut up shop in the town on September 29, after more than 30 years operating in the town.
The move will leave the farming community with no bank or ATM, and ANZ customers facing a 66km one-way trip to the Northam branch.
Beverley farmer Alan Sattler said he believed the move was disrespectful to the bank’s loyal Wheatbelt customers.
“There are a lot of older people in Beverley who don’t know a lot about banking online,” he said.
“What ANZ needs to remember is that some of these people have been banking with ANZ all of their lives. We have banked with ANZ for as long as I can remember.”
ANZ WA general manager Kathleen Jahour said in-branch transactions had declined about 50 per cent in the past four years as people moved to online banking.
She said ANZ had personally notified its Beverley customers about the closure and was helping them with “specialist teams on the ground” to help with the transition.
Ms Jahour said agribusiness customers would still be visited by relationship bankers on-farm.
“We have provided a closure period of six months to allow time for us to work with our customers on alternative banking methods, including online banking, mobile lenders and mobile banking,” she said.
“One of the biggest changes we have seen in recent years is the number of people who have moved to online options to do everything from catching up on their favourite TV show and shopping to doing their tax returns and banking.
“In the last year alone, 70 per cent of our customers preferred digital banking options and many of our few remaining passbook-only customers have been choosing to use debit cards for the first time.
“There has been a longer-term trend that has seen our in-branch transactions drop on average about 50 per cent over the past four years.”
Central Wheatbelt MP and State Opposition Leader Mia Davies encouraged “people to vote with their feet” and support banks based in regional WA.
Ms Davies, left, said regional communities were already hurting after the closure of NAB and Westpac in Boddington and York, and the closure of Target stores across the regions.
“When you have a State Government refusing to prioritise regional development and without a plan to grow regional communities, the consequence is a withdrawal of private industry from the bush,” she said.
“Banking is a vital service for country towns and it’s disappointing ANZ has made the decision to leave more than 800 Beverley residents without any local banking services.”
She said ANZ’s argument of a “significant decline in branch visitation” did not hold water in light of a global pandemic which had “impacted virtually every business in WA”.
“Just over 20 years ago, The Nationals and progressive community leaders in the Wheatbelt were involved in bringing the community banking model to WA after major banks started withdrawing their services,” she said.
“I encourage people to vote with their feet and support banks which recognise the value of having a local presence in the regions and are committed to investing dollars back in their communities.”
ANZ has 15 branches in regional WA, including Albany, Margaret River, Broome, Bunbury, Busselton, Carnarvon, Derby, Esperance, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie, Karratha, Katanning, Narrogin, Northam and Port Hedland.
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