Lockhart residents are being cushioned against the closure of the town’s NAB branch by other banking facilities in the town.
The branch, which is open only four hours a week, is to be shut down as part of a wider raft of closures, but the Lockhart community will still have one of the “big four”, plus smaller community bank branches.
However, the story is very different in Ardlethan, as the closure of the NAB branch will leave Coolamon Shire without a single “big four” representative.
Likewise, Culcairn will be without a “big four” outlet, but will still have a Hume Bank branch, when the NAB pulls out in June.
Cr Greg Verdon, Lockhart shire’s deputy mayor, said he had not heard a great deal of outcry about the branch closure.
“Nobody likes to see the closure of services in their community,” he said.
“But the NAB was only open one day a week, and Lockhart will still have other banks.”
The Commonwealth Bank has a branch in Lockhart, which also has a Bendigo Bank branch and its own Lockhart Community Bank.
According to NAB, between 80 per cent and 90 per cent of customers in Ardlethan, Lockhart, and Culcairn are using other branches in the area such as Temora, Wagga, Young and Holbrook.
The Ardlethan community is hoping a smaller bank can be convinced to open in the town after NAB pulls out.
Coolamon Shire Mayor John Seymour said residents attending a community meeting had decided to ask Beyond Bank to establish a branch in the town.
Beyond Bank opened a branch in Coolamon after Westpac closed its doors in the town.
Cr Seymour said Ardlethan residents had raised a number of concerns about the branch closure, from older people who were not comfortable using online banking to business owners who were worried about making large cash deposits and more complicated transactions.
NAB general manager, retail, Paul Juergens said the decision to close the branches was “a difficult one to make and was only made after careful consideration”.
“Increasingly we find that our customers are banking at other branches, or prefer to do their banking online, on the phone, or through our mobile app,” he said.
The ANZ bank has also announced that it will close its Temora branch in May, the first “big four” to leave.