A furious Mount George woman has started an online petition to keep the Wingham Branch of the Commonwealth Bank open.
Alison Archinal was disgusted, as were many people in the Wingham and outlying communities that Wingham services, when she learned the branch was closing permanently after being 'temporarily' closed due to COVID-19 earlier this year.
"I believe that they're doing the wrong thing by the community. There are many people in the community who rely on the bank being there," Alison said.
"We've got the credit union (Regional Australia Bank) and I'll think they'll do well out of this. But (the Commonwealth Bank) was the last of the big banks.
"Wingham is an important community for the outlying areas - Bobin, Mount George, Elands, all of those communities feed into Wingham." Alison said.
As reported by the Wingham Chronicle on October 5, people are also incensed that the elderly and businesses have not been considered.
"There's been a lot of fighting to maintain business in Wingham and the bank going is going to have a big impact on that," Alison said, noting the effect that drought, bushfires and COVID-19 have had on the town.
"And we've got a lot of old people who need access to a bank who would have already changed, probably from other banks (after they closed) to this bank."
That the bank is also taking away their ATM machine is a double hit. The other large banks and the building society who previously withdrew their services from their town left their ATMs for the use of customers in Wingham, however some of them charge customers from other banks for transactions.
Related: Wingham to lose St George bragency
The Wingham branch is one of at least 114 the Commonwealth Bank closed 'temporarily' in response to the pandemic.
The Wingham Chronicle contacted CommBank to ask how many of the 114 branches were now closed permanently and, if any, their locations. We also asked the reason for closing the bank's ATM on Bent Street.
"Broadly we have seen a steady decline in ATM transactions across our network as customers move to more convenient channels such as online and mobile," regional general manager, Sara Sutton said.
"We have four CommBank ATMs within 12.2 kilometres, three of which are accessible 24 hours a day."
As regards other branch closures, CommBank said it was unable to provide details "at this time" as "we only report on our branch closures at specific milestones (eg. Financial Results, Annual Report)".
To sign the petition go to www.change.org/p/commonwealth-bank-of-australia-keep-the-wingham-commonwealth-bank-branch-open.