SERVICE SLASHED: Bank agencies to close across SA

BankSA agency banking will be wound up across South Australia in June.

The number of agencies to close was unconfirmed by BankSA at the time of going to print.

BankSA state general manager, consumer banking Ben Owen said in most cases, customers would be able to continue their banking at local post offices.

“BankSA agencies offer a limited range of transactional banking services and are operated from within an existing business or retail outlet,” he said.

“The existing dial up telecommunications network used by the agencies for customer transactions will be retired and switched off in June 2021.

“With banking services now available via Bank@Post in nearly all of these locations, BankSA customers can continue to do their banking locally at the post office instead.

“We’re supporting our customers and agents through this change.”

Finance Sector Union (FSU) national secretary Julia Angrisano said Bank@Post services offered a limited range of services and said the FSU believed banks, “as designated essential services”, had a community service obligation especially in rural and remote communities.

“The FSU is particularly concerned about the elderly members of our community who do not use online services and who value personal interaction and who require services that go beyond deposits, withdrawals, and money transfers,” she said.

“This also goes for people with limited English language skills. In many cases these customers will now need to travel long distances to access more complex banking services.

“Cuts by the banks of a banking presence is a blow to local communities, and in particular the forgotten Australians including those with disabilities, low levels of digital literacy and those with limited access to transport and older Australians.

“Banks are an essential part of our communities and neighbourhoods, and Australians need to be able to access face-to-face banking services where they live.

“We know that when a bank removes its point of presence – whether that is a branch, agency or an ATM, there are ramifications for the community and other business in town suffer, this is especially the case in regional and remote communities across SA.”

Among the agencies to close will be the BankSA agency currently located within Koolunga Garage Farm Supplies.

The business alerted its customers last week that after 28 years of providing the banking agency in the town, its BankSA agency service would cease from May 7.

Koolunga Development Association chair Paul Jones said he felt the closure of the banking agency was disappointing, but an unfortunate sign of the times.

“I think it will be the local clubs like the cricket club, bowling, tennis and footy clubs that will suffer the most,” he said.

“They’re probably the ones that use the service the most, banking cash and being able to deposit that cash locally instead of having to go to Port Pirie or Clare.

“It may not have a massive impact on many people in the town, it’s also no great surprise they’re now closing this service, but it is a loss for the community.

“It’s only really when something is taken away we realise how much we miss it and once it’s taken away it’s a bitter pill to swallow.”