Westpac to close local branch

A local bank branch is set to close.

Westpac say their branch on Hunter Street in Newcastle will shut it’s doors. Services and staff will move to their Beaumont Street location in Hamilton.

It’s the only one in New South Wales to be axed, with a number of others in Victoria also closing.

It’s drawn backlash from the Financial Services Union, National President Wendy Streets says it is nothing but a money grab.

“This is not about customers preferring digital banking as Westpac claims.

“This is about nothing more than a bank that loves profits and cares little about people, including its customers and staff.

“Having booked a $1.5 billion first quarter profit last month, you would think Westpac could continue to offer banking services to customers within its existing branch network.

“The FSU believes banks are an essential service and that all Australians should have the right to do their banking in the manner they choose instead of being driven into digital banking,” Ms Streets says.

However Westpac says it’s Hamilton branch is much more fit-for-purpose following a big spend on upgrades.

“This space has been designed for both Westpac and St.George customers and includes improved video conferencing facilities to connect customers with banking experts across the country.

“We’ve upgraded our digital kiosks, provided a dedicated concierge to help customers navigate the new site and our business banking centre remains ready to help business customers across the region.

“Many customers can also continue to access cash services locally via Bank@Post at Newcastle Post Shop just 250m from our current branch. Personal and business transaction account customers can also perform fee-free ATM withdrawals at any Precinct and atmx ATM. Alternatively, customers have the option to bank using our App, mobile banking, virtual banking or can call us to talk to one of our bankers,” a Westpac spokesperson said.