Australia’s four major banks are removing thousands of ATMs and closing branches due to the corona virus
Australia’s four major banks are removing thousands of ATMs and closing hundreds of branches as coronavirus crisis pushes the nation closer to a cashless society
- At least 2,150 ATMs removed across Australia in the past quarter of June
- Australia’s four major banks together closed 175 branches in the past 12 months
- Ignited by COVID-19 as Australia moved closer to a cashless society
- Opinions are divided about the closures of branches and ATMs that will cause a nuisance to the elderly
The coronavirus crisis has resulted in the closure of a record number of ATMs and hundreds of bank branches as Australia moves closer to a cashless society.
The number of ATMs across the country is at its lowest in 12 years at 25,720, according to the Australian Payments Network, after at least 2,150 terminals were removed in the last quarter of June.
Australia’s four largest banks – ANZ, Commonwealth, NAB and Westpac – also closed 175 branches in the past 12 months.
The widespread closures have divided public opinion and caused a nuisance to 2.5 million older Australians who do not practice online banking.
At least 2,150 ATMs were removed in the quarters of June, according to the last quarter. Pictured are Commonwealth Bank customers withdrawing cash in Brisbane
Of the 175 branch closings, ANZ had the highest number with 68, followed by the Commonwealth with 44, Westpac had 36, while NAB closed 27.
Westpac removed most of the ATMs at 84, followed by ANZ at 73 and NAB at 21, while Commonwealth Bank did not disclose the number of closed terminals.
Tony Richards, the Reserve Bank of Australia’s head of payment policy, said most ATMs were shut down in metropolitan areas in locations such as shopping malls.
“ Overall, the bank expects the long-term downward trend in the use of cash to continue, ” he said News Corp.
Anna Bligh, CEO of the Australian Banking Association, added: “Australian banks have invested heavily to keep track of customers’ banking preferences, with technology and data now playing a key role in the way banks do their business.”
NAB recently shut down 21 ATM terminals as Australia moves towards a cashless society
Not everyone has welcomed the move from the banks.
Ian Henschke, National Seniors Australia’s chief attorney, said many older people are more comfortable using cash because they fear being scammed online.
“Many of them are older Australians and it will be extremely difficult for them to purchase services,” he said.
The closure of ATMs and branches has also divided public opinion.
‘This is stupid. If I didn’t live with my son and family, I wouldn’t be able to have the Internet. So how the hell do low incomes and retirees get their money? Oh yes, we will be forced to walk into a bank and will be charged. Take advantage of people as usual, ‘a woman posted on Facebook.
ANZ has closed 68 outlets across the country in the past 12 months. Pictured is a branch in Newcastle, north of Sydney
Another added, ‘Banks’ forced’ don’t believe it, it was more that they wanted to close them, so we’re moving cashless. Cash is still legal tender. Not all people, young and old, would suffer from a moneyless society. The banks and the government are urging this. And they are using Covid as a way to drive this even more, leaving businesses accepting only contactless payments. The government needs a wake-up call. ‘
Some disagreed that Australia was moving towards a completely cashless society.
‘I work in retail and I call BS about this. I don’t see the cashless society. I see people with cash working on budgets, elderly and not so elderly with cash, ‘a woman posted.
Westpac has closed 36 branches in the past 12 months and recently removed 84 ATMs
Others believe the closings had more to do with bank profits.
‘Banks are not forced at all. They choose to close branches and ATMs because profit is more important to them than providing a service, ”said a man.
The news comes as ANZ struck a deal to sell 1,300 off-branch ATMs to Armaguard Group in the next 12 months.
The banks say they will keep their network of 900 ATMs in the branch, as well as what they have termed “strategically important” remote ATMs.