SENATE ENQUIRY – 22 SEPTEMBER 2023
Today, Junee Shire Council and various community organisations and businesses made a significant impact at the Senate inquiry by passionately voicing our frustrations regarding the closure of banks in regional Australia.
Senator Matt Canavan publicly acknowledged that Junee’s relentless efforts played a pivotal role in initiating the Senate Inquiry to address bank closures in regional Australia.
During the inquiry, we are delighted to share that the Regional General Manager of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) recognised the bank’s failure to engage with our community adequately. As a result, Junee’s CBA branch is taking a positive step forward by extending its services to our community. The branch will be open for five half-days each week starting in four weeks.
This achievement is a monumental victory for our community and stands as a testament to the unwavering dedication of our residents who united to preserve our branch. Your support and determination have made a lasting impact, and we couldn’t be prouder of our community’s resilience.
Thank you, Junee, for demonstrating the incredible change we can accomplish when we stand together.
THE BANK IS STAYING – 7 July 2023
Junee Shire Council is ecstatic about the recent commitment made by Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) to ensure its regional banks remain open for at least the next three years.
This announcement arrives amidst the ongoing impact felt by the Gundagai and Temora communities following the recent news of the impending closure of their National Australia Bank branches in September.
This is a wise commitment which will contribute to the stability and resilience of our expanding local economy in these challenging times.
Access to banking services is a fundamental requirement for communities to thrive and grow. Regional banks play a critical role in fostering economic activity, supporting local business, and ensuring financial inclusion for residents in regional areas.
Junee Shire Council remains committed to working with the CBA to champion the interests of our community.
For media inquiries, please contact:
Mr Luke Taberner
Acting General Manager
Junee Shire Council
02 6924 8100
LODGE A SUBMISSION TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE – 21 March 2023
As you would be aware Council has managed to convince the CBA to keep its Junee branch open until the conclusion of a inquiry into a parliamentary inquiry into Bank Closures in Regional Australia. The Inquiry is inviting submissions. It is most important that meaningful submissions are made to this inquiry to help the case for keeping bank branches open in regional and rural towns like Junee.
Below is the link to make a submission. If you have strong feelings about this issue please make a submission to the inquiry via the following link: BankClosures or you can email the Committee Secretary at email@example.com.
You need only address one of the criteria, not all of them:
The current extent of bank closures in regional Australia, with reference to:
Submissions close on 31 March 2023.
BANK’S ARROGANCE NOW ON PUBLIC RECORD – Sky News 2 March 2023
The first public hearing into Bank’s closing branches in rural and regional Australia was held in Sale Victoria yesterday. The press release by the Senate Committee confirms our own community’s frustration at the way Banks treat their personal and business customers.
Junee Shire Council has requested a public hearing be held in Junee at the Athenium Theatre – stay tuned.
THE PROJECT ON CHANNEL 10 – JUNEE PEOPLE FIGHT CBA TO SAVE THEIR ONLY BANK – 22 February 2023
COMMONWEALTH BANK CLOSURES ON HOLD UNTIL SENATE ENQUIRY – 13 February 2023
The Commonwealth Bank announced today that it would defer closing any more banks nationally until after the findings of a Senate Inquiry. The inquiry was announced on Wednesday last week
after pressure from affected councils and representations by Federal Member for Riverina, Michael
McCormack. Other MPs have also been agitating on the same subject.
On Thursday last week, the residents of Junee held a protest in the street outside the bank.
Approximately 100 were in attendance, complete with a range of banners. Cries of “Save Our
Bank!” rang out in the street around midday as Channel Nine cameras rolled.
One local resident, Maisie Robinson, was in attendance with her original Junee, Commonwealth
Bank passbook. The first entry was made when she deposited money in 1943 at the tender age of nine years.
Mayor Neil Smith said “It’s a terrific result for all of Australia. I really would like to thank our Federal Member, Michael McCormack, our General Manager, James Davis, and our dedicated staff for their efforts that have got us this far. I would also like to acknowledge and thank the people of Junee and Junee Shire for coming out in force to show how they feel.
Mayor Smith went on to caution that it was a reprieve rather than a wholesale win at this stage.“This reprieve is pending a Senate Inquiry.” he said. “We must keep the pressure on and above all, raise our voices to the inquiry. We need to be very clear to the government about the negative effect that bank closures have on some of the most disadvantaged in our community, as well as businesses, charities and service clubs. This is as much about banks having a moral and social obligation in our communities.
The shameless closures of bank branches has to stop. In fact, the trend needs to be reversed. Banks should be re-opening, not closing.”
In finishing, Mayor Smith posed the question “I wonder if the other Big Four banks around the country will have the courage and good sense to pause in their actions to close branches, pending the inquiry?”
COMMONWEATH BANK’S INTENTION TO CLOSE IT’S JUNEE BRANCH – 7 February 2023
The Junee Community continues its fight against the Commonwealth Bank decision to close it Branch in Junee on 3 March 2023. Junee Shire Council will continue to advocate on behalf of the community for this decision to be overturned and has written to Federal Parliamentarians requesting action.
Junee Shire Council is calling for the consideration of a Parliamentary Inquiry into Bank service levels in rural, regional, and remote Australia, together with the immediate suspension on all listed Bank Branch closures at the February 2023 Parliamentary sitting.
PROPOSED CLOSURE OF COMMONWEALTH BANK
Excerpt from Wagga Daily Advertiser (Dec 26, 2022)
The Junee Shire Council Mayor Neil Smith said the bank closure was pushed back to March 3, after they found CBA did not give the appropriate amount of notice.
“What we’re really hoping to do is get the parliament to have another look at this,” he said.
The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) had planned to close its Junee Bank Branch last Friday until the local community pointed out that the remaining option for local people at the Post Office building did not have disabled access.
Cr Smith said council was also working on collecting data about how many people actually use the bank in Junee.
“Our staff have been staked out in front of the bank for a couple of weeks, counting the number of people that actually do us the ATM and do actually go into the bank for service.”
“The bank is telling us that business is dropping off, and they can’t warrant keeping it open, but our figures are different.”
22 November 2022
Given the two buildings are only 200m apart, the CBA would have known that the alternative bank@post service, upon which it was relying on to maintain limited deposit and withdrawal services, did not meet the appropriate accessibility standards and therefore would exclude some of their customers from face-to-face access to their accounts. The alternative for those customers is an 80km round trip to the CBA Branch in Wagga Wagga.
The Junee Community has had a small win with the CBA deferring the closure of it’s Junee Branch until 3 March 2023 while the CBA and Australia Post hurry about attempting to fit an access ramp to the building. However there’s a lot more at stake than just a cosmetic retrofit to a building.
Banks are leaving rural people and businesses high and dry without appropriate face-to-face banking services. There are currently 43 bank branches listed to close across Australia and communities are justifiably concerned about what that means for the elderly and most vulnerable in their community who do not use internet banking and businesses who need a range of banking services to effectively operate – services bank@post do not provide.
Junee Shire Council is asking the CBA to fulfill the requirements of clauses 32, 33 and 34 contained in the ABA Banking Code of Practice. Central to these clauses, is providing banking services which are inclusive of all people including: older customers, people with a disability, Indigenous Australians and people with limited English. The community fails to see how the bank is doing this by closing the Branch on which they depend.
People using internet banking are also targets of financial scams and fraudulent activity.
Council is worried that older people with little exposure to technology will be particularly susceptible.
Council has a strong belief that the CBA has not followed the Australian Banking Association Code of Practice or the branch closure protocol, and that it has treated its loyal customers unfairly that will result in them being worse off in the long run.
The CBA claim that the Junee Branch is unviable and therefore will close the Junee Branch. How much does it actually cost to keep a Branch open anyway? Particularly when the CBA own the property.
Junee Shire Council is publicly calling on the CBA to justify its claims that the Branch is unviable. It has long been suspected that Banks have been assigning new or transferred existing BSB account numbers to larger centres. If true, is it any wonder rural branches appear unviable on their books. Council’s position is that only when every personal and business CBA account holder, who is a resident within the Junee Local Government Area, is accurately ascribed as such, can the Bank’s viability assessment be given any credibility.
The Council also calls on the Federal Parliament to consider placing a moratorium on any more Bank Branch closures. This issue really needs an appropriate parliamentary enquiry to examine ways of enhancing service obligations on the Banks to delivering face-to-face banking that actually support individuals and businesses. Self-regulation through the ABA is not working.