ANZ WARRACKNABEAL and district clients are up in arms over the decision of the ANZ bank head ofﬁce to shut the Warracknabeal branch trading for two days per week, reducing the opening days to Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
It is apparently proposed to close the bank on Tuesday and Thursday, effective from next week.
Customers have been frustrated in recent years by the bank progressively reducing customer service hours, the bank trying to force clients to use internet banking and automatic teller machines, and randomly closing the branch without warning to send staff to prop up staff shortages at other branches.
Yarriambiack shire mayor and ANZ client Cr Graeme Massey told the Herald yesterday, it seems the ANZ and big business like the former Warracknabeal store Target are treating rural communities with disdain.
“There’s no consultation, no communication, ANZ clients have been extremely loyal to the bank. Some have banked with them for many generations, and this is how they repay those clients by reducing hours and then cutting out days they are open,” Cr Massey said.
“They have a lot to answer for, the community has loyally supported the ANZ for decades. Their communication has been appalling on this matter, all they’ve done is to stick a little poster in the branch and expect everyone to cop it on the chin,” he said.
Cr Massey went on to say this decision is going to have a signiﬁcant impact on the elderly, farmers and business. “They’re obviously not listening to their clients, in fact they haven’t even consulted with them in any shape or form, this is going to be most distressing for the elderly as I see it, they want personal service have been told they have to use an ATM.”
“It’s a perfect example of urban based people and business hurting rural clients, they don’t seem to have any moral obligation to look after rural people, they just want our money and not incur any expense in getting it,” he said.
Warracknabeal Action Group chair Kathryn Wilken, also an ANZ client said, “I can’t believe that the rumours I’ve been hearing are founded in truth, there has been no consultation with clients or the community on this appalling decision.”
“It’s going to be devastating for the elderly particularly and a downright inconvenience for everyone from farmer to business operators, I just can’t believe they are doing this without any consideration for so many long standing and loyal customers,” she said.
“They are clearly not listening to the needs of their customers, perhaps they could engage with those clients who support the bank and come to some arrangement where they can remain open each day…I’d certainly hope so, but based on this decision which they haven’t even advised clients properly, you’d have to wonder if they value our business. I fully understand that this is a decision made high up in the bank and I feel sorry for the staff copping the wrath of the public and hope clients won’t take it out on the local staff.”:
“I’d like to know what they are going to do for people unable or unwilling to use the internet, I know there are plenty of elderly who don’t trust or can’t use the ATM, this will be devastating for them,” she said.
At the time of going to press the Herald had just been able to contact the ANZ regional manager, based in Melbourne and in a brief discussion, Mark Genua told the Herald that it was normal procedure to review trading hours and services and believed the ANZ provided sufﬁcient alternative services to cover this.
“We aim to give clients four weeks notice when such things happen, we’ve done internal research and felt the days we’ve chosen to remain open reﬂect the times of maximum demand for our services,” he said.