A LACK of community consultation over a decision to close the Port Fairy NAB branch is disappointing, according to Moyne Shire mayor Mick Wolfe.
“The loss of a bank in any town is disappointing,” Councillor Wolfe said.
He said the news the branch, which employs two full-time staff and a number a casuals, had come as a shock to him last week.
“We’re fortunate we have another three banks here in town but even so it’s a service that has been removed,” Cr Wolfe said.
“It’s now up to you as individuals to make a decision whether you continue with the National Bank or go with another.”
The Port Fairy branch will close on July 26 and the Casterton branch will also shut down, NAB confirmed in a statement.
NAB regional manager for the Casterton and Port Fairy area Chris Boadle said the decision was a difficult one and was made after careful consideration.
“While our branches continue to be an important part of what we do at NAB, the way our customers are banking has changed dramatically in recent years,” Mr Boadle said.
“Increasingly we find that our customers are banking at other branches, or prefer to do their banking online, on the phone or through our mobile app.
“In the locations we are closing, more than 75 per cent of our customers are using our other NAB branches in the area, including NAB’s branches in Warrnambool and Hamilton.”
Mr Boadle said clients could still complete transactions at Australia Post outlets.
“We know that some NAB customers still like to bank in person, which is why we have a strong relationship with Australia Post offices, which offer banking services on NAB’s behalf,” he said.
“At Australia Post, NAB customers can do banking like check account balances, pay bills and making deposits up to $10,000 cash or withdrawals up to $2000 per day.”
Mr Boadle said NAB was working hard to find opportunities for employees at other branches.
“If we can’t find opportunities, we help our employees through The Bridge, our industry leading program where employees are provided up to six months of career coaching as they decide what’s next for them – whether that be retirement, pursuing a new career or starting a small business.”
A number of residents expressed frustration over the branch’s closure on Facebook.
“What happens to those people who can't get to Warrnambool very often but still would like to stay with the NAB and that means those people who don't do internet banking,” one resident wrote.
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