Australia's Westpac is shutting down 48 bank branches and amalgamating others in a major reduction in its national branch network.
The closures involve branches under the Westpac, St George, Bank SA and Bank of Melbourne brands, threatening the jobs of 165 staff.
In other areas a process of ‘co-branding’ will mean one branch will close with customers urged to go to another Westpac Group bank where two bank brands will trade from the same branch.
Westpac says the branch cull is a reponse to changing customer behaviour and the rise of internet and mobile banking. Affected staff will be offered redeployment but some compulsory redundancies are likely.
The Finance Sector Union has accused Westpac of abandoning customers and staff.
“Westpac is deserting its customers and its staff by closing branches to shore up its profits,” says FSU national secretary Julia Angrisano. “This shutdown of so many branches is of major concern to our members and will impact on a large number of staff, banking customers and businesses around Australia.”