South Australian customers hit out as banks branches and ATMs continue to close
Bank customers say they are feeling the pinch of branches and ATMs closing throughout regional and suburban towns.
- More bank branches are closing in South Australia
- It follows a national trend of bank and ATM closures throughout Australia
- ANZ customers will not be able to use Australia Post banking services
Next week, ANZ will close branches in Kurralta Park, south of Adelaide, and at Hutt Street, in Adelaide’s CBD.
It will also close its ATM at Kurralta Park.
It appears to be part of an ongoing trend of bank and ATM closures throughout Australia.
Where are all the ATMs going?
According to the Australian Payments Network, which represents organisations dealing with electronic payments, credit cards and cheques, the number of ATMs has shrunk by 8 per cent since its peak in December 2016.
Meanwhile, eftpos terminals have increased by 4 per cent in the past year.
There are now 30,219 ATMs in Australia, compared with 966,719 eftpos terminals.
Customers feeling the pain
In Willunga, south of Adelaide, BankSA closed its branch in 2015 but kept an ATM.
It closed that in September last year.
Local MP Leon Bignell posted a photo on his Facebook page of people queuing for the last ATM on the town’s main street.
“BankSA closed their branch in Willunga four years ago and the head of BankSA went on ABC Radio Adelaide, and spoke to me as well, to give an assurance that while they were closing the branch, people could still use the ATM,” Mr Bignell said.
“Then in September last year they ripped the ATM out.”
Mr Bignell said Willunga swelled by hundreds if not thousands of people every Saturday during the Willunga Farmers Market and they needed access to money.
He said the situation was about to get worse on January 20 for the final stage of the Tour Down Under, which ends at Willunga Hill.
“BankSA’s owner is Westpac, which made an $8.1 billion profit last year, so they can’t say they’re a struggling business that has to cut costs,” Mr Bignell said.
“They’re cutting costs, they’re cutting services and people are angry down in Willunga and other parts of my electorate.”
Willunga Farmers Market manager Jenni Mitton said Saturday’s situation was created when a private ATM located inside the markets fell out of order due to a technology upgrade.
She said more than 20 of about 60 permanent stallholders also offered cashless payments through “phone apps or eftpos” for customers, which they had to pay fees on.
BankSA senior communications manager Josiane Abboud said there had been a 35 per cent decline in the number of people using the Willunga ATM over the past two years.
She the bank decided to remove the ATM in the wake of fee free withdrawals from October 2017 after its lease expired late last year.
“To further support the community, we are open to partnering with a suitable business in Willunga to take on a BankSA private agency agreement and offer over the counter cash handling on Saturdays, or any day of the week,” Ms Abboud said.
BankSA closed its branch at Semaphore in August — the last on Adelaide’s Lefevre Peninsula.
ANZ services no longer at Lobethal after bank closure
Ahead of the ANZ closures in Kurralta Park and Hutt Street, the ANZ branch at Lobethal, in the Adelaide Hills, closed in 2017.
It promised that services would still be available from the local post office, with no other bank in the town.
ANZ general manager for South Australia and Western Australia Larissa Beeson said the transaction fees Australia Post wanted to charge were too high on top of a $22 million one-off national payment that the postal service wanted.
“There was a significant increase in the charges that Australia Post were seeking to cover,” she told ABC Radio Adelaide.
“We’re disappointed we couldn’t reach a fair and proportional agreement.”
Australia Post said it had reached a “fair deal” with the other three banks after deciding it could no longer operate the service at a loss.
Customers moving to ‘digital solutions’
Ms Beeson said staff at Kurralta Park were speaking to customers about their individual needs and there were four branches within close proximity to the site.
“Our customers are using more and more digital offerings these days so many of our customers over several years have chosen to avail themselves of those digital solutions,” she said.
Calling into ABC Radio Adelaide this morning, listener John said ANZ had also closed branches at Marleston, Pasadena, Brighton, Somerton Park, Park Holme and Clovelly Park, all south of Adelaide.
“It highlights the lack of support that the ANZ has for Adelaide,” he said.
Nicole said her husband closed his business account with ANZ after the Blackwood branch closed.
“He said, ‘That’s fine, we’ve got every other bank still in Blackwood’, so he went across the road and opened an account with Westpac,” she said.