The Nationals WA say regional communities and businesses will lose access to crucial banking services following the NAB’s decision to cut back on branch opening hours.
Commerce spokesman and Member for Roe Peter Rundle said he had written to the NAB to express his disappointment at the reduced operating times and to make sure the bank would continue to service regional WA into the future.
“There are 19 branches in WA, stretching from Karratha to Denmark, that will only be open for teller service from 9.30am and 12.30pm and that is just impractical for many regional centres that have banking as an essential part of their business operations,” he said.
“Many farmers, tourism operators and town businesses are already up and running before the branches open and don’t take a lunch break until after the doors have closed so how will they access the key banking services they need?
“In a lot of communities in the firing line the NAB is the only bank in town, leaving families and business with no alternative to do their banking.
“What is particularly disappointing is the bank didn’t consult with communities before making the decision to determine whether an appropriate service would remain, leaving customers in the dark.”
Mr Rundle said the timing of the NAB’s announcement had also worried regional centres trying to rebuild following the COVID-19 crisis.
“Our Prime Minister has pleaded with banks to do the right thing by their customers as we wade through the impacts of the coronavirus,” he said.
“Yet now we have a reduction in services in regional WA, affecting businesses trying to get back on their feet.
“What do people do with the day’s takings because the bank won’t be open to accept them? And it will also hurt community groups who need a local branch to gain cash floats for their activities. An alternative bank could be hundreds of miles away.
“The NAB said many of its services can be accessed through internet banking but we well know in regional WA that not all communities have NBN strong enough to perform many of the necessary tasks.
“We will be seeking a commitment from NAB to ensure those regional centres that rely on the bank are suitably serviced.”