The banking union says Westpac is putting profits before people by closing 24 branches and cutting 76 jobs in regional and suburban areas.
The company says it will close branches under the Westpac, Bank of Melbourne or St George brands across five states.
The regional bank closures include Glen Innes, Lavington, Leura and Wauchope in NSW; Colac, Leongatha, Morwell, and Portland in Victoria; Peterborough in South Australia; Nambour in Queensland and Kununurra in WA.
The remaining 13 branch closures are in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth suburbs.
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The union’s national secretary Julia Angrisano says Westpac has continued an aggressive branch closure program after pausing during the federal election campaign.
“Shutting down branches means Westpac will continue to put profits before people,” Ms Angrisano said in a statement on Friday.
“The bank quite plainly doesn’t care about forcing inconvenience on customers and throwing affected staff onto unemployment queues.”
A Westpac group statement says decisions to close branches are not made lightly, and follow a shift towards digital and cashless banking.
The bank says it helps redeploy employees after closures, with a majority finding new roles at the company.
Most customers are happy with online banking, while there are still options for those who prefer face-to-face services, the statement says.
Data from consumer group CHOICE shows 575 banks closed across regional Australia between 2017 and 2021, with a 34 per cent drop in ATMs.
The issue prompted the establishment of a regional banking taskforce under the former coalition government, exploring concerns that closures affect livability of country towns and leave the elderly and vulnerable behind.
The taskforce received more than 400 written submissions, completed public consultation, and visited regional towns in NSW and Victoria where banks have closed their doors.
After a meeting in Mildura in January, taskforce co-chair Senator Perin Davey said bank closures stop some towns from attracting new residents.
“When people are looking at towns they want to move to, they look at what services are in a town: is there a school, is there a medical centre, and is there a bank? If the bank is not there, then they might look to the next town,” Senator Davey told AAP.
The union has described the taskforce as a “cruel stunt”.
The Australian Banking Association says its members, including Westpac, are committed to providing services in regional Australia, such as face-to-face retail services through post offices.