Cashless society Australia: Commonwealth Bank has closed 354 branches in five years

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has closed a staggering 354 branches and 2297 ATMs in the past five years, with plans to shut down more in the coming weeks.

Australia’s biggest bank, which serves 15.9 million customers, has shut down almost one-third of its branches since June 2018, going from 1082 to 728 countrywide.

In the same period, CBA also axed 54 per cent of its ATMs, from 4253 to 1956.

The bank also doesn’t plan to stop there. It will close another three branches in major cities before March 1 — Rundle Mall in central Adelaide, Coolangatta on the Gold Coast and Coogee in Sydney.

“After a recent review, we made the difficult decision to permanently close our Rundle Mall Adelaide, Coolangatta and Coogee branches,” a spokesman told the Daily Mail on Friday.

The closures will see 13 staff lose their jobs at Rundle Mall, five at Coolangatta and four at Coogee.

CBA said 21 of the 22 affected employees had been redeployed.

“We are also supporting the remaining staff member to find potential opportunities,” the spokesman said.

Bankwest, which is owned by Commonwealth Bank, is also closing two branches in Perth and regional WA in coming weeks, following a third closure last month.

Bankwest branches will close in Maddington in southeast Perth and Kununurra in northern WA on February 29 and April 18, respectively. The Armadale branch in southeast Perth closed on January 18.

In small towns like Laurieton on the NSW mid-north coast, CBA operates the only big-four branch, with Westpac having closed in 2017, ANZ in 2018 and NAB in 2022.

This means customers with NAB, ANZ and Westpac must drive 33 kilometres to Port Macquarie to do their banking in person — particularly important if they get scammed or find a bug in their banking app.

CBA in Laurieton closes at 1pm Monday to Friday, meaning customers have just 3.5 hours each weekday to do their banking in person. CBA branches in regional centres and big cities, by contrast, close at 4pm.

Laurieton’s median age of 67 is also significantly higher than the national median age of 38, per the 2021 census.

Online and app banking is particularly difficult for older Australians, who are often less familiar with the technologies and more vulnerable to scams.

Read related topics:Commonwealth Bank

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