The Commonwealth Bank of Australia will permanently close its Renmark branch, prompting the town’s mayor to tell residents to change banks if they’re not happy about losing face-to-face service.

Key points:

  • CBA will permanently close its Renmark branch
  • The bank says the branch has had a 44 per cent drop in transactions
  • Mayor Neil Martinson says customers should change banks if they are unhappy

The bank said in a statement that Renmark had experienced a 44 per cent drop in transactions during the past five years, prompting the decision.

CBA did not specify the date of the closure.

Renmark Paringa Mayor Neil Martinson said he was disappointed by the decision and encouraged CBA customers to consider changing banks rather than travelling 20 kilometres to Berri to access a branch.

“There’s no way older people will travel to Berri, if they have to change banks then they should be changing banks to make sure they can do their business locally,” he said.

“If you’re not happy with the Commonwealth Bank service then change banks, we’ve got the National Bank, Westpac Bank and also BankSA.”

Cr Martinson said some bank staff had been working in the Renmark CBA branch for more than 30 years.

Like other regional areas, the Riverland has seen the closure of other bank branches over the past 20 years, including National Australia Bank in Berri and BankSA and ANZ in Barmera.

“It’s a trend as far as the banking industry is concerned because everybody is trying to do stuff on mobile phones and computers.

“But the older community don’t necessarily have that ability, or even have a computer or a mobile phone,” Cr Martinson said.

Older people changing banking habits

CBA regional general manager Sally Gubbin said the decision to close the Renmark branch followed a review of branches across Australia.

She said there would be no job losses and that Renmark customers could access face-to-face services at either the Berri branch or through the local post office.

Ms Gubbin said, increasingly, customers were choosing to bank online and that a survey had found nearly 20 per cent of customers from Renmark already visited the Berri branch.

Older people were also more likely to use technology.

“Customers in older demographics are actively engaging with CBA online,” Ms Gubbin said.

“For customers over the age of 60, more than twice as many had accessed NetBank or the CommBank App in the past month, compared to the number who had visited a branch in the last three months.”

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