Riverton ANZ announces August exit

RIVERTON will lose its last remaining bank when ANZ closes the doors on its local branch in August.

The closure was in line with a general shift towards digital services, according to ANZ South Australia North and West district manager, Amanda Schultz.

“Around the country there is an increasing trend for many services to move online, including government systems such as MyGov, Medicare and the Australian Taxation Office,” she said.

“As the digital economy continues to transform, we are seeing it in our business with many of our customers preferring to use online services.

“Of customers who have Riverton as their home branch, 66 per cent prefer online and mobile banking.

“This compares with 16 per cent who prefer to use the branch.

“The declining usage of the branch was considered in the closure decision and also made a move to another location unviable.”

The company contacted local customers six months in advance of the August 12 closure to allow more time for them to adjust to the
change.

“We wrote to customers last week and we’ve allowed a closure period of about six months to work with them to find them alternative ways to do their banking, including online, telephone and mobile banking,” Mrs Schultz said.

“Customers who want to continue face-to-face banking can do so at the Balaklava branch. There are no current plans to close this
branch.”

The company claimed it was working on finding suitable redeployment opportunities within the bank for affected staff.

It is the second major bank branch closure in the Clare and Gilbert Valleys Council district in recent times, following Commonwealth Bank shutting down its site in Clare less than two years ago.

CGVC mayor, Wayne Thomas, had concerns surrounding the Riverton ANZ closure.

“The issue here is ANZ’s alternative banking options rely largely on smart phones and the internet, but the coverage in the area isn’t necessarily reliable and drops out regularly,” he said.

“I’m not sure if internet banking is where the older residents who still used the branch want to be either.

“How the local cash businesses are affected is a big question mark too.

“There is no question there is major change in the bank services sector, it’s happening, so improvements on internet access, reliability and education on how to use these services will be even more important.

“I just hope ANZ at least retains the ATM in Riverton, that is my personal hope.”

Mr Thomas said it was a difficult issue for council to navigate.

“When the Commonwealth Bank closed in Clare, we wrote to the company to express our disappointment; there isn’t much we can do other than raise awareness and lobby for better communications infrastructure.

“For these smaller communities, it is very hard for anyone to change the mind of those in the big banks when deciding on closing branches.”

Frome MP, Geoff Brock, said these decisions are often made without regard to the impact on the wider community.

“Despite the ANZ saying the way customers have used the bank has changed in recent years, it has not given priority to the needs of the community, especially retailers and the elderly,” Mr Brock said.

“To tell loyal customers they now have fewer options and suggest they make a 40-minute drive to use the branch at Clare is unacceptable.

“Services are slowly being eroded in country communities, with a lack of thought to how residents will manage in the future.”

ANZ also pulled out its Local Link agency services in Snowtown, Burra and Port Broughton back in March 2016.