“Decline in demand for cash services” is poppycock say locals

“Decline in demand for cash services” is poppycock say locals

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Scott Spittles said Bankwest’s branches average fewer than 30 over-the-counter transactions per branch, per day. But the Maddington branch was buzzing when our photographer, Richard Polden, visited on January 24.

Days after the closure of its Armadale branch, Bankwest has announced they’ll now be taking the axe to the Maddington store.

“Bankwest has made the decision to close its Maddington branch, effective 29 February 2024, in response to changing customer preferences, leading to a surge in digital transactions and the rapid decline of demand for cash services,” Bankwest General Manager Personal Banking Scott Spittles said.

They will also permanently close their Kununurra branch in April.

The announcement has infuriated locals intending on using the Maddington locale after the Armadale branch was closed on Thursday last week.

The Armadale branch officially closed its doors for the last time on Thursday last week.

When The Examiner asked Bankwest if any more branches were due for closure in the next year, we were told nothing else was “confirmed”.

But Bankwest said they “expect to operate fewer branches in future” as they shift to a focus on home loans.

Mr Spittles suggested existing customers could continue to bank using the Bank@Post services at the Australia Post stores in the Armadale shopping centre and the Maddington Central Shopping Centre.

But one outraged City of Armadale local said this information is disingenuous, with AusPost not able to deliver every in-person banking service that the Bankwest branches performed.

“We can check balances and do deposits and withdrawals. But we can’t do transfers,” Robert said.

“The only way around that it to use telephone banking. But then you have to make that account accessible for phone banking.

“Having my banking offline is important to me.”

He also said he was aggrieved by the withdrawal of their safety deposit boxes in the CBD a few years back, with no way to now store his valuable documents.

Customers wishing to change cash at Australia Post are charged a small fee, and coins must be pre-sorted into separate denomination bags.

And Robert is not swayed by the bank’s rationale for closing down its branches.

“The objection I have is they are getting economical with the truth,” he said.

“They’re spouting their usual missive about people moving online while bloody-mindedly withdrawing services with impunity.

“But the Armadale bank was always busy every time I went.”

There is currently a senate inquiry into bank closures in regional Australia, but Robert believes that governments should be taking issue with these closures in metropolitan areas too.

“I believe that when you get a banking licence it comes with a social responsibility,” he said.

An old sign above the vacant Armadale branch reads the ‘Rural and Industries Bank of Western Australia’, before it became Bankwest in the 90s.