One of Australia’s largest banks coughs up the most irritating excuse you’ve ever heard to close over 50 branches and abandon thousands of customers
- Claim ANZ ‘virtue signals’ over closures
- Bank ‘boasts about’ emissions savings
ANZ has been called upon to clear more than 50 branches across regional Australia, then celebrates the move by claiming it saves carbon emissions.
Senator Matt Canavan seized on the financial giant’s Climate Active report during the Senate hearing on closing banks on Thursday, calling the horrific attempt to “greenwash” cost-cutting measures as “outrageous.”
The report claimed that the bank had reduced its “base building issues” with “real estate consolidation.”
“It seems quite clear that you are touting a reduction in carbon emissions as the benefit of closing branches in small rural towns,” said the outspoken National Party politician.
“This is outrageous. That people in a rural town should suffer because you have to propagate your virtue to climate-conscious shareholders.’
ANZ has been called on to clear over 50 branches in regional Australia, then celebrates the move by claiming it saves carbon emissions (stock image)
Climate Active is a cooperation program between the federal government and the business community to reduce CO2 emissions
Michael Wake, managing director of ANZ NSW and ACT, told the senator he could not say whether cutting carbon emissions was a factor in the decision to close branches.
‘Not that I know. That’s not to say we don’t, but not that I know of,” he said at the public hearing in the Queensland regional town of Ingham.
Mr Wake said he would return to the inquiry with more details at a later date, but an ANZ spokesperson later clarified that CO2 emissions reductions are not a factor used to decide on branch closures.
Climate Active is a cooperation program between companies and the federal government to stimulate emission reduction.
The ANZ has properties across Australia and abroad and the report did not specify which property consolidation reduced emissions.
ANZ has closed 56 regional branches across Australia in the past two years and four branches in regional Victoria and rural NSW on Wednesday.
Mr Wake admitted that local communities were not consulted on the decision to close branches.
“Community members will not be notified until we notify our employees,” he said.
He added that 24 weeks’ notice was always given before a bank closed its doors and that older customers were contacted by bank employees and assisted with the transition to online or telephone banking.
Senator Matt Canavan (pictured right) seized on the financial giant’s Climate Active report during the Senate hearing on bank closures Thursday, calling the horrific attempt to “greenwash” cost-cutting measures as “outrageous”
However, Mr Wake ‘accepted the point’ that some elderly customers may become victims of elder abuse due to their inability to do their banking in person.
He found that 81 percent of the bank’s customers had not visited a branch in the past year.
Wake insisted that ANZ was a “long-term supporter of regional communities.”
He said the “well-being” of staff was also a top priority in branch closures.
“We are working to secure other roles for colleagues who want to stay with us,” he said.