Westpac will close the doors of nearly two hundred Sydney bank branches at 2:30pm from next Tuesday.
The major bank is reducing opening hours in a bid to protect frontline staff amid NSW’s lockdown, which has been extended until the end of August.
A total of 195 branches, including Westpac and St George branches in the Western Sydney region, are set to close at the earlier hour. This represents roughly a quarter of its national network.
Westpac chief customer engagement officer Ross Miller said the bank wanted to keep doors open for customers while protecting frontline staff.
“This means from next Tuesday, we will reduce opening times from 9.30am – 2.30pm to give our employees the opportunity to better juggle home and workloads during this unusual time,” Miller said.
“We have seen reduced foot traffic in our branch network during lockdown as more people stay home, and we would encourage customers with non-essential banking needs to use our mobile, online and telephone banking services where possible.”
The branches will continue to be operated in a COVID-safe manner with hand sanitiser, face shields, distance signage and occupancy limits in place.
Yahoo Finance reached out to Westpac for further comment but Westpac did not provide a list of branches.
The news follows Commonwealth Bank’s announcement earlier this week that 90 of its branches in regional locations would change to shorter operating hours.
These branches will close at 1pm.
“Following close consultation with our people, these regional branches will continue serving local customers in branch from 9:30am to 1:00pm and then close to assist CBA’s Australian-based contact centres, which are receiving more than a million increasingly complex customer enquiries every month,” CBA said in a statement.
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The COVID-19 pandemic has seen the closure of hundreds of big four bank branches across each of the major banks.
More than 290 bank branches have been shut down since early 2020, according to data from the Financial Sector Union.
NSW has recorded 170 locally acquired cases, Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced on Friday.