Bank closures impact jobs in the financial sector

One of the big four banks announced a second round of branch closures within a fortnight, signaling more job losses in the financial sector.

Westpac announced the closure of seven branches in Victoria and Tasmania, and these closures are in addition to the closure of six branches it told the market about on August 30.

These six branch closures announced on August 30 will impact communities in Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland.

The Financial Sector Union said the bank would have known of the last group of branches scheduled to close and believed Westpac was staggering branch closure announcements so that the number of customer service centers closed did not appear not important.

“Westpac knew last month that it was closing branches in Victoria and Tasmania and this latest announcement is nothing more than a media trick to avoid bad publicity from a big number,” said Julia Angrisano, secretary union national.

“Our members in branches are worried that their jobs will be the next to go and this is a difficult issue for staff meeting the challenges posed by Covid.

“Westpac is slashing millions from its cost base and they know exactly what the future looks like. Instead of dribbling closure announcements, Westpac needs to confess and stop trying to avoid negative headlines.

Angristano said Westpac’s bank closures are an indication that the bank is leaving communities that deserve full banking service in physical suburban branches.

“Where does it end? Using the blanket of COVID to decimate the branch network and put large numbers of employees out of work is obscene,” Angrisano said.

The union also raised concerns about ANZ’s closure of six branches announced on August 2, with those six branches spread across six jurisdictions.

Angrisano said at the time that it was astonishing that one of Australia’s most profitable financial institutions was closing branches.

“Earlier this year ANZ announced it was closing 15 branches and with the latest closures the bank will have closed 152 branches since the start of 2020,” Angrisano said.

“This is an unenviable record for a bank that claims to operate in the best interests of customers and staff.”


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