Bank branches are closing at a rate of “15 a month” with 255 branch closures since 1 July last year.
The figures, calculated by MoneyQuest, are based on RBA records for the number of operating bank branches across Australia, including metro, rural and regional areas.
According to its data, the number of bank branches peaked in 1993, when RBA figures confirm there were 7,064 operating branches. Incidentally, in 1996 the number of ATMs exceeded the number of bank branches for the first time.
However, data compiled over recent months shows the total number of active bank branches in Australia now stands at around 5,500.
MoneyQuest MD Michael Russell said, “Since 1993, Australia’s population has grown by 29% yet bank branch numbers have fallen in response by 21%.”
According to MoneyQuest’s own calculations, there have been 255 closures alone since 1 July 2017.
“That’s an average of 15 branch closures each and every month,” Russell said.
The Finance Sector Union (FSU) has kept a close eye on branch closures throughout 2018. In July, national secretary Julia Angrisano wrote in a statement, “Since the start of 2017 over 280 branches have been closed by Westpac, CBA, ANZ and NAB. This is not good enough. Australians deserve access to essential services such as banks.”
Adding to the problem, a dispute between ANZ and Australia Post means as many as 900 small business will lose access to banking services through their local post office from January 2019.
In response to the closures, Russell has reinforced the “critical role played by mortgage brokers” in servicing consumers across metro, regional and rural communities.
A statement from the broking franchise read, “Fortunately for homebuyers across the country, local mortgage brokers have stepped in to fill the void.”
Russell added, “MoneyQuest is proud to be part of an industry of national finance professionals who provide a service to customers and care greatly for their wellbeing. We cherish the concept of customers for life and are always available long after we assist in putting the finance in place.”