Tuesday, 13 March 2018
NAB’s justification to community ‘disingenuous’
MEMBER for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall has repeated his disgust at the conduct of the big four banks, slamming the National Australia Bank for announcing last Friday the closure of its Bingara branch on 31 May.
“The board and management of NAB should hang their heads in shame for putting mega profits and shareholder dividends ahead of loyal customers who have supported the bank for generations,” Mr Marshall said.
“It’s clear to me and the community that while it calls itself a ‘National’ bank, Bingara does not figure in their vision of Australia. Today, the NAB stands condemned by Bingara, along with a growing number of communities cross regional NSW.
“This announcement will not only impact the bank’s long suffering customers, but hurt the town’s capacity to attract new residents and shut off any hope of local service for businesses with complicated finances.
“Sydney-based executives justify the decision based on changing customer preferences and dropping transaction numbers, but I’ve got little sympathy for a bank that recorded a $5.3 billion clear profit last year.
“Closing small rural branch may achieve a slight saving on this banking monolith’s bottom line, but it means everything to local customers that are waving farewell to their banking services.
“It means 20 fewer hours of work being done in Bingara, directly impacting employment in the smaller local economy and reducing visitation from customers who live on rural properties.
“By NAB’s own admission, 40 per cent of local customers visited this branch in person over the past year, no doubt including many seniors who may not be comfortable transacting over the phone, via an app, or by driving to Barraba or Inverell.
“I unequivocally encourage all regional Australians to tell the big four banks to bugger off – today’s announcement makes their complete disregard for country customers clear.”
The closure of NAB’s branch leaves Bingara with Regional Australia Bank, which is open two days a week, and the Bank @ Post service – which offers limited transaction facilities for NAB customers.
Mr Marshall said that he was writing to his parliamentary colleagues in the federal arena, urging them to take action to preserve regional banking services.
“My stance is clear; if you have paying local customers, you should offer local services,” Mr Marshall said.
“The justification of Bingara customers using other branches is an absolute furphy, given that the bank has previously made decisions to remove certain banking services from the Bingara branch, forcing business customers in particular, to use other branches.
“It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy and to try to sheet home the blame for this closure on customer behaviour is disingenuous and a disgusting betrayal of the true picture.
“I intend to approach the Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce and Member for Parkes, Mark Coulton to ask their advice in ensuring a minimal level of service provision for regional banking customers.
“I don’t believe this approach to be unfair, nor is it unprecedented – regional TV stations must have a local presence as part of their licence conditions, to ensure they’re contributing to country communities while profiting off viewership.
“If the banking sector truly believed in regional NSW, it would be furthering its investment in country areas. It would be helping businesses expand, and towns grow.
“The big four have completely failed to show support for our region – and I am proud to say I’ve stopped supporting them.”