TERANG solicitor Ian Pugh says the closure of the Commonwealth Bank is an opportunity for the single remaining bank in the town to step up.
The Commonwealth Bank branch will close on June 30. The closure leaves the town with one bank, the NAB, after the ANZ shut last year.
The NAB is open from 10am till 2pm and Mr Pugh it was time for the bank to show its commitment to the town.
“Bank services are obviously vital to small towns,” he said.
Mr Pugh said he had spoken with businesses and residents and the community would back the bank if it increased its hours.
“This is a very community minded town,” he said.
He said he was supportive of efforts to get a Bendigo Bank in Terang and the end goal was for a fully operating bank servicing the town.
Mr Pugh said the Commonwealth Bank closure would make doing business in the town more costly with certain banking services needing to be done in Camperdown and Warrnambool.
“The town needs good banking services,” he said.
“This will affect businesses and families.
“While many things can be done online there are still things that can’t.”
Mr Pugh said he had spoken with representatives from the NAB and had encouraged them to approach local businesses.
“The ball is really in their court now,” he said.
When contacted for comment on the NAB’s commitment to the town a spokeswoman said they continued to monitor their branch network to ensure it aligned with how customers chose to bank with them.
Terang business owner Michael Reicha said he would love to see the NAB extend its hours but he was doubtful it would happen.
He said the town would be better putting its time and resources into a banking system that supports small country towns.
“Cobden has had great success with their Bendigo Bank,” he said.
Mr Reicha said he had little confidence the big banks were interested in anything other than profits and branches in the cities.
“Any towns with a population under 5000 should be worried,” he said.
“We’re now trying to work out how we’ll do our banking, just things like getting change. It’s an absolute nuisance.”