CQ town in shock as last big bank closes its doors

1st February 2018 2:24 PM
The Moura ANZ Bank branch will be closing its doors in April this year. The Moura ANZ Bank branch will be closing its doors in April this year. Contributed

IN WHAT is another blow to a Central Queensland regional town, ANZ Bank has announced it will close its branch.

An ANZ spokesperson said it was a difficult decision and one the bank business did not take lightly.

"After conducting a detailed review we have decided to close our branch in Moura from April 24, 2018," the spokesperson said.

"We apologise to our customers for any inconvenience this closure may cause."

ANZ advised their review showed customers in the area were using the Moura branch less and less for their banking needs, while many customers were increasingly using alternatives such as our mobile phone banking app, internet banking or ATMs.

"We've seen a decrease in foot traffic at the branch of more than 32 per cent over the last four years," the spokeswoman said.

"Of our customers who have Moura as their home branch, only nine per cent of them currently use the branch with 71 per cent of them preferring online options such as internet or mobile banking.

"Only 13 per cent of all our home loan customers in Moura have used the branch with 87 per cent opting for mobile brokers to help them with this important financial decision."

The ATM will remain in its current location.

"We will write to our customers to let them know where and how they can continue to do their banking," the spokeswoman said.

"They can visit us at our Biloela branch, located at 70 Kariboe Street, Biloela.

"Customers can also use the Bank@Post facilities located at Moura Post Office which will offer deposits, withdrawals and payments for customers using ANZ debit or credit cards.

"We also have phone and online banking services available to customers 24/7."

The closure will also leave some staff out of a job.

"We are consulting the branch staff members who currently work at Moura," the spokeswoman said.

"We are fully supporting them through this transition period and making every effort to find redeployment opportunities for them."

Moura Chamber of Commerce Vice President Aron Lang said news of this closure had come as a surprise and was of real concern to all facets of our community.

"We have been told we can jump and scream all we like and the decision won't be overturned," Mr Lang said.

While he was still digesting the news, Mr Lang said his immediate concern was how the community reacts toward the staff at the Moura branch.

"I encouraged the area manager to have a liaison available at the branch to field the concerns," he said.

"The staff don't need to cop this flack that will come from ANZ customers and notifications of the closure of the branch will bring that."

The news has come after The Rock Financial Institution announced in September last year they would be closing their Biloela, Moura, Theodore and Baralaba branches in September and November.

"ANZ aren't the first to do it, The Rock pulled out and Westpac did a few years ago, ANZ was the last man standing," Mr Lang said.

Since the closure of the Theodore branch, residents and business owners have been forced to travel the 50km drive to do banking at the Moura ANZ branch.

It also understood that residents from Rolleston and Bauhinia use the Moura ANZ branch.

"There is a large rural regional that do rely on a banking town, and what does it mean for my business and other businesses in Moura," Mr Lang said.

The loss of these banking customers could have more than a detrimental effect.

"Are they going to drive straight through town and go to Biloela and do their banking, get a hammer and haircut while they are there, I just don't know?" Mr Lang said.

There is some positive news in the closure though.

"Although there won't be a blue and white banking facility in Moura; ANZ banking services will be available through the Moura Post Office," Mr Lang said.

The owner of Moura Mitre 10 said he could see where ANZ was coming from.

"From a business point of view I can understand that it doesn't pay, a business decision needs to be made," Mr Lang said.

"It comes back to statistics, how many people walk through the doors each day."

Mr Lang has owned the hardware store for the past 22 years.

"As a business we don't use the branch as much as we used to in terms of walking through the day, we have customers using more internet banking and eftpos so I have less cash to deposit," he said.

"That is the change of the world in business."

The biggest message Mr Lang wanted to reiterate to the community was that bank services weren't completely lost on the town.

"I haven't digested it enough to see what impact it will but I am assured the services will still be available," he said.

The bank will be closed from April 24, 2018.