Nationals Wheatbelt MPs have expressed disappointment at the National Australia Bank (NAB)’s decision to close up shop in Wyalkatchem, Three Springs, Kondinin and Wagin.
Local Member for Central Wheatbelt Mia Davies said the announcement was a blow to the communities who relied on bank presence for their financial services, including household, business, and personal transactions.
“During a time of uncertainty, with a pandemic, significant weather events, and growing housing and health crises, this news adds insult to injury to regional West Australians,” Ms Davies said.
Ms Davies said decisions like this were out of step with community expectations.
“NAB’s decision based on decline in foot-traffic through the affected branches shows an organisation unable to adapt to changing circumstances such as a global pandemic and a callous approach to supporting communities during a time of need,” Ms Davies said.
“In the wake of the Royal Commission into the banking sector which included investigation into the culture and governance of banks and financial institutions, you’d think there’d be thought given to more than the bottom line for services like this.
“I know they’re not the only major bank to withdraw services from small country communities, but it’s a bit rich to suggest they’re making the decision off a decline in foot traffic in branches over the past 12 months.”
Member for Moore Shane Love said the news was a huge blow to the community especially after parts of the Midwest and Wheatbelt were continuing to deal with the aftermath of Cyclone Seroja.
“There are many areas, people, homes and businesses that were badly affected by the cyclone – it is well-known the widespread rebuilding effort could take years,” Mr Love said.
Mr Love said it was an ideal time for banks to be on the ground providing much-needed support for those experiencing devastating losses and a lack of State Government assistance.
“Banks need to have a presence in these communities to understand their situation, and instead of closing doors based on algorithms, these organisations should work humanely and lend a helping hand wherever needed.”
Closing dates: Wyalkatchem – 9 September, Three Springs – 10 September, Kondinin and Wagin – 30 July