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Commonwealth Bank makes call on regional branches, including Summer Street

July 7, 2023

Orange's Commonwealth Bank. Google Street View.

By Peter Holmes

The Commonwealth Bank (CBA) on the corner of Summer Street and Lords Place - and all others in the Central West - are safe from closure until at least the end of 2026, following an announcement from the bank on Friday.

The bank has faced pressure from the federal parliament this year to cool its jets on plans to keep closing branches and/or reduce their operating hours.

In February the bank promised it wouldn’t close any more branches until the end of 2023, but today (July 7, 2023) it extended this until the end of 2026.

The Blayney branch building sold for $560,000 in September 2021, and the old Molong bank sold in January 2022 in the mid-$400,000 price range.

The bank also removed an ATM from North Orange Shopping Centre. The ATM allowed customers from a range of major banks to make free transactions. It was removed in late 2021 and replaced by a generic atmx machine that charges fees per transaction, unless you bank with a limited number of mostly smaller financial institutions.

Orange's Commonwealth Bank. Google Street View.

CBA executive Angus Sullivan, said: “We recognise the way people are banking is changing, with more customers adopting the benefits offered by digital and phone-based services.

"Through this time of change we want to support customers in regional areas who prefer banking in branch and so we will maintain our existing face-to-face services in these communities.”

The bank doesn’t hide its desire to get people out of branches and onto apps.

“We look forward to working closely with regional communities over the next three years to refine how we better support and familiarise them with all the CBA banking services available,” Sullivan said.

Since September 2021 the Commonwealth has reduced service hours at 90 regional branches in Australia, turning them into “multi-channel branches”.

“Multi-channel branches provide face-to-face services to local communities for the first part of the day, before closing to local customers at 1pm; at which point branch staff join their colleagues in CBA’s Australian-based contact centres, helping to assist more than 1 million customers each month,” the bank said.

CBA said it will “explore opportunities to transform additional regional branches into multi-channel sites where it makes sense”.

Bathurst MP Paul Toole said: “In regional NSW we have seen too many banks close their doors putting profits ahead of customers and local jobs.

“Whilst we are moving more and more towards remote banking methods it is still important for communities in regional areas to have easy access to bank branches as not everything can be done digitally.

“I hope other banks see this commitment from the CBA and follow in their footsteps.”

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