The final report released by the Government’s Regional Banking Taskforce has recommended that banks engage more closely with local councils when considering regional branch closures.
ALGA President Linda Scott – who represented Australia’s 537 councils on the Taskforce – said this would help communities transition from branch closures in their towns and regions.
“I want to thank the Taskforce for listening to our concerns and incorporating our feedback,” Cr Scott said.
“The Taskforce has recommended that the Australian Banking Association strengthens its Branch Closure Protocol to make sure councils are forewarned of any closures.”
“When councils have a full picture of what is happening with branch closures then they can help communicate these decisions and alternative banking options to their community.”
“The Taskforce has also recommended that banks produce impact assessment statements that will consider the impact a branch closure will have on the community, and undertake genuine engagement with mayors and other local government leaders.”
“Local governments understand that branch closures are ultimately commercial decisions for banks.”
“However, when banks close down local branches, it is often councils that are left to pick up the pieces.”
The Regional Banking Taskforce was established by the former Government in October 2021 to bring banks and other relevant parties together to analyse the trends in bank closures in regional and remote Australia, assess how banks transition to new banking delivery models, and identify alternatives to bank branch models.
The Taskforce included banks, peak bodies including the Australian Banking Association, Australia Post, and the Australian Local Government Association.
The final report can be downloaded here.