NAB customers hit by branch changes
One of the nation's largest banks is slashing branch opening hours and encouraging people to use digital and phone services instead.
National Australia Bank has revealed 114 of its smaller regional banks will have their operating times drastically wound back.
It will see many branches shut at 12.30pm instead of typically closing later in the day, anywhere between 1.30pm and 5pm.
This will impact about one in five of NAB's branches and the change will be made at locations across the country including NSW (38), Victoria (28), Queensland (25), WA (19) and SA (4).
NAB's group executive of personal banking Rachel Slade said the way customers were interacting with their banks was significantly changing.
"Our branches continue to be a really important part of many local communities especially for local businesses," she said.
"Nobody is losing their jobs as a result of these reduced hours."
The changes will begin from Monday, August 17.
NAB branches open at 9.30am on weekdays but their operating times vary depending on location with some branches open between three and five days a week.
The staff at these branches will instead be deployed to NAB's call centre or work on the bank's online chat service.
Ms Slade said the bank was "hoping to keep regional and rural branches open until at least January next year".
The move was been made as a result of more customers moving to digital banking options, spurred on during the pandemic.
It is unclear whether NAB will go one step further and shut branches.
National Seniors Australia's chief advocate Ian Henschke said 2.5 million Australians still don't have access to the internet and many rely on going into bank branches.
"This is compromise which is far better than the alternative which is where we have seen banks shutting down branches and providing no service to the community," he said.
"There's been some cases where older people have had to travel one hour each way to do their banking."
The bank's former acting chief Phil Chronican said they would keep the bank's bush branches open until at least January 2021.
The Finance Sector Union of Australia's spokeswoman Wendy Streets said NAB's move was a good one as it was altering branch opening times without closing branches.
Another one of the nation's largest banks the Commonwealth Bank temporarily closed 114 branches during the pandemic for up to six months which would see them closed through until November.
This was done to deal with staffing needs elsewhere including in call centres and after a significant drop in customer usage of bricks and mortar locations.
NAB BRANCHES THAT WILL BE AFFECTED
Lake Cargelligo Agency
South West Rocks
Sussex Inlet Agency
Tin Can Bay
St Arnaud Agency
Originally published as NAB customers hit by branch changes