Thursday, February 8, 2024


Mackay and Whitsunday Life


The community of Sarina has been left reeling following last week’s announcement by the National Australia Bank (NAB) that it will be closing its Sarina Branch on Tuesday 23 April, claiming this is due to the majority of their customers changing the way they bank.

Federal Member for Capricornia, Michelle Landry, said while numbers have increased in recent years for people using online banking, there are still many people in the Sarina community who prefer to do their banking face-to-face.

“Regional bank closures have an enormous impact on regional communities. I am disappointed to hear today another major bank will be shutting its doors to the community of Sarina.

“A great majority of the elderly aren’t computer savvy or don’t have family nearby to help them with online banking. Many also have a fear of making a mistake and losing their money or concerned about scams.

“I truly feel for the elderly and those who have no reliable transport who are now relegated to making an hour round trip to do their banking,” Ms Landry said.

In the past six years, more than 1200 bank branches have shut their doors to customers in Australia.

“Only 2 months ago, the NAB reported their profits hit $7.7 billion but are unable to keep a regional branch open for customers who prefer to do their banking in person.

“It is disheartening that NAB chose not to align with other banks by making a commitment to refrain from closing additional branches during the ongoing Senate Inquiry. This decision seems to demonstrate a lack of consideration for our regional communities,” Ms Landry said.

In a generic pamphlet announcing its Sarina branch closure, NAB said, “Closing a branch is always a difficult decision and we understand the change can be a big adjustment for some customers. Before the decision was made, we took a lot into consideration.

The bank shared that in 2023 more than 660 personal and 80 business customers used its branch more than 3 times, and around 140 customers were heavy users in that they visit more than 12 times per year.

There were also more than 3,800 personal cash withdrawals in the year.

The bank said for those customers still wanting to bank face-to-face the nearest branch would be located in Mackay. Many Sarina locals voiced their disappointment on social media, saying they would consider looking at alternative banking options that did still offer personalised service in Sarina.

Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry and Neil Whiting

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