BANK hours are being reduced in a south-west town, adding to a growing list of closures and reductions across the region.
The Commonwealth Bank branch hours in Camperdown are being cut down and will now close at 1pm.
It follows the closure of banks across the south-west, including in Cobden and Terang.
Corangamite Shire Central Ward Cr Laurie Hickey said it was disappointing for the community.
"Banks are very important for small rural communities like ours," he said.
"When hours are cut it can be indicative of other cuts down the track, it's very disappointing.
"There are restricted hours across a lot of the banking sector which does mean an impact to the more vulnerable people in our communities who don't have access to the internet and modern apps.
"This issue is a bit widespread in the shire."
He said it would not be well received in the community.
"That could be reflected in a loss of customers for the bank," Cr Hickey said.
"They've taken away opportunities from the community to save a dollar."
A total of 90 regional locations have had their hours reduced.
Most branches will still open at 9.30am but will close at 1pm in a few months' time. The branches traditionally remained open until 4pm.
Staff members have been told they would mostly keep their working hours but be redeployed to help with call centres when the doors were shut.
The bank says the new hours cater for most of its customers "who often choose to bank with us in the morning or during their lunch break".
"In regional communities, we know we can continue supporting the majority of our personal and business customers face-to-face before 1pm, and we're confident the mix of alternative banking options available will enable them to complete their banking outside these new trading hours if needed," a CBA spokesman said.
The decision to reduce opening hours has come as a relief in some regional communities which feared their branch might close as many others have done.
CBA said all of the identified locations can access to ATMs.
CBA executive general manager (customer service network) Mark Jones said the bank had adapted its branches to meet "customers' evolving needs while ensuring jobs stay in regional communities".
"We're expanding our Australian-based contact centre network from five dedicated locations to over 90 communities across the country, while keeping a physical banking presence in regional communities," Mr Jones said.
Outside of the new trading hours, Bank@Post will continue to be available at 3500 Australia Post outlets.
CBA recently renewed its 110-year partnership with Australia Post until 2032, allowing personal and business customers to make withdrawals, deposits and bill payments.
"We understand these changes may be an adjustment for some of our customers, and the team at their local branch will continue to be available to help them find the solutions that best suit their needs," Mr Jones said.
CBA said there had been a big increase in customers self-serving via its app or NetBank. It now has 7.5 million digitally active customers.
The bank has committed to investing around $50 a million a year to its branch network, for upgrades, refurbishing and to open new centres where there is demand.
The National Bank has similarly reduced the hours at more than 100 small branches with staff opening branches in the mornings and moving to phone or online banking in the afternoon.
ANZ and Westpac has also been progressively closing branches, many in regional areas.
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