Commonwealth Bank Australia to become third bank in less than five years to abandon South Perth strip – PerthNow

Bank branches are closing across Australia at an alarming rate with more than 300 axed in the last financial year alone.
These closures are having a ‘devastating’ impact on communities with older people forced to travel long distances to do their banking in person.
South Perth’s Angelo Strip is one area where the impact is being particularly felt.
Commonwealth Bank Australia is days away from becoming the third bank in less than five years to leave the Strip and locals are devastated.
The bank’s exit from the strip is the latest to hit South Perth, with Westpac closing its branch on Mends Street on September 9, ANZ shutting its doors along Angelo Street in September last year and National Australia Bank packing up shop along the same street more than three years ago.
CBA regional general manager Karen Reid said the South Perth branch, which will close its doors at 4pm next Friday, had suffered a 75 per cent drop in transactions over the five years before the COVID-19 pandemic.
But Finance Sector Union of Australia national secretary Julia Angrisano said “don’t believe the banks” who claim customers prefer banking online.
“Our members tell us that the numbers of ‘over the counter’ transactions in a branch often have limits placed upon them and once that limit is reached, customers are taken to a computer inside the branch or to an ATM and shown how to do their banking online,” she said.
Ms Angrisano said bank branch closures had a “devastating impact” on communities.
“Older people who are not computer literate feel the impact most as they are forced to travel longer distances to do their banking over the counter,” she said.
“Closure of branches can impact local businesses which require safe places to deposit cash and are used to applying for loans and overdrafts at local branches.”
The FSU wants the Federal Government to investigate the provision of local banking services.
“We would like to see banks required to provide a minimum level of service to customers and stop cannibalising their local branch network,” Ms Angrisano said.
Ms Reid said South Perth customers who prefer over-the-counter service still have access to this option, with nearby branches at East Victoria Park, 95 William Street, Perth, and Booragoon.
“We’ve found 37 per cent of customers from South Perth are already visiting these nearby branches,” she said.
“We recognise some senior customers prefer to do their banking face-to-face and it’s one of the reasons we’re proud to maintain the largest branch network in the country.”
The closures come after WA’s first Coles Local supermarket opened at the corner of Angelo Street and Anstey Street earlier this month, kick-starting the area’s revitalisation.
The City of South Perth believes there is a silver lining to the bank’s imminent departure.
City executive Mike Bradford said the CBA’s departure provided an opportunity for a new business to move in and be part of the Angelo Street revamp.
“We have seen a number of new businesses establishing themselves in a post-COVID renewal, including Snap Fitness, Next Door restaurant and bar, Stretch Lab wellness centre, Split Coffee, Moe Sushi, My Implant Dentist, Lilypilly Florist and WA’s first Coles Local,” he said.
The former ANZ building on Angelo Street is now home to Snap Fitness and My Implant Dentist is in the former NAB site along the strip, but there have been no signs of what will fill the soon-to-be-vacant CBA site.
Angelo Street Pharmacy owner Marc Segler has traded along the strip since 1987, with his business now in its third location at 72 Angelo Street.
He told PerthNow banks had followed each other in leaving the strip.
“When I first moved to Angelo Street and saw lots of valuable retail space occupied by banks, I thought to myself what a waste of retail opportunity, but I soon learned that banks bring people to them as all businesses that take cash have to bank — and most of them bank daily,” he said.
Mr Segler said he was “saddened” by CBA’s imminent departure from South Perth. He had used it for business purposes after the NAB branch on Angelo Street closed its doors.
“Unfortunately for us there are no more banks in the street to move to, which we would have if there was,” he said.
“From a customer perspective, we will miss the convenience of daily banking and the ability to get change for our tills just walking distance away from the pharmacy.
“From a street perspective, we will miss the additional foot traffic that, depending on where bank customers parked, would walk right past our door.”
Manager Katherine Pettit, who has been in the role for 10 years, said pharmacy customers had said they were disappointed at losing another bank branch.
“They feel like they are been pushed to online banking, which does not suit some of our older clients who may prefer to use cash,” she said.
“It’s a loss on another personal and necessary service.”


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