Westpac has been slammed after announcing the closure of another five branches, this time in metropolitan areas.
Westpac branches at Mortdale and Neutral Bay (NSW) will close on April 21, along with the St George branch in Queen St Brisbane, and Bank of Melbourne branches at Brimbank and Point Cook (Vic).
The Finance Sector Union (FSU) hit back at the decision, especially given the bank is already facing parliamentary scrutiny over regional branch closures.
Also read: Bankwest shutters all east coast branches
“Westpac is ignoring community concern over its savage branch-closure program by closing down another five metropolitan branches at the same time it has agreed to a moratorium on regional closures while a senate inquiry is underway,” the FSU said in a statement.
“Westpac is clearly thumbing its corporate nose at the Australian parliament and the community by announcing the closure of city branches trading under the Westpac, St George and Bank of Melbourne brands.”
FSU national secretary Julia Angrisano said the fresh closures proved Westpac didn’t care about community concerns.
“This bank doesn’t care about customers or staff. It only cares about profits. By closing branches, Westpac is making sure its billion-dollar profits are pumped up so senior executives keep their fat bonuses coming in,” Angrisano said.
“We know bank customers are under financial stress as rising interest rates and the cost of living eat into their pay packets.
“At a time like this, many customers will want to be able to go to their local branch and seek help to manage their finances.”
The major banks have said branches are closing as customers increasingly move towards internet banking, but Angrisano said FSU members have alleged they have been forced to push customers away from using in-branch services.
“The arrogance of Westpac is only exceeded by the size of its executive salaries,” Angrisano said.
“It’s time the Federal Government regulated the banks so they are required to provide a minimum level of financial services to Australians, no matter where they live.”