New research shows bank branches continue to open at an increasing rate, despite the rise in online activity.
The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) reported a 1.2% increase in bank branches for 2012, representing the strongest growth in three years.
There was also an increase in the number of financial institutions now classified as banks.
Steven Münchenberg, CEO of the Australian Bankers Association (ABA) said branches had continued to open in defiance of the tough economic climate, increasing over the last five years by an overall 7.2%.
However, Mortgage Choice’s CEO Michael Russell claimed branches were losing out in areas “where customers are no longer using the branches.”
He cited results from the 2011 JP Morgan report at a media conference last week as evidence of a changing landscape.
“It came up with some compelling conclusions that somewhere in the order of 30% [of] bank branch networks are at risk of being stranded in areas where customers are no longer using the braches,” he said.
“It [implied] banks will need to, and probably are, reconsidering their bank branch footprint.”
Both Russell and Münchenberg acknowledged the rise in internet banking was significant.
“There are so many choices when it comes to how you want to complete banking transactions. Recently, banks have been rolling out new mobile banking apps which let you do your banking on your smartphone or your tablet,” said Münchenberg.