State Member for Wallsend, Ms Sonia Hornery MP, has called on the Commonwealth Bank to reopen and resume operating its Wallsend branch and not use the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to close another branch in the Wallsend electorate.
In May this year, the Bank announced via a notice to customers that it would temporarily close the branch for a period of up to six months, to deal with staffing needs elsewhere and a drop in patronage during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The branch closed its doors to the public on May 7 and remains closed with no date for reopening. Ms Hornery wrote to the bank in May and again last week but as yet has not received a response to either letter.
Ms Hornery has called on the bank to reopen as promised in its correspondence to customers back in May.
“In May the bank was reassuring customers that the closure was only temporary and they would reopen after six months, if not sooner,” said Ms Hornery.
“We all knew that the temporary closure would mean something else down the track and after six months, the branch remains closed with no sign of reopening.
“My office has received calls and emails for the last few weeks asking if the branch would reopen as promised. I wrote to the CEO back in May and again last week but he hasn’t bothered responding to me on either letter.
“The Bank is using the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to rip services out of the western suburbs. We have seen all the other major banks and building societies do the same in the last six months.
“I understand that more people are using online banking services, but there are thousands of people in the Wallsend electorate who rely on brick and mortar banks, such as the elderly, the disabled and the socially and economically disadvantaged, all of whom are proportionately more likely to lack steady internet access.
“As we move into the post-COVID recovery phase, people will need banks to open their doors. It’s a damn shame that our banks won’t be there for them.
“The Commonwealth Bank needs to let the people of the Wallsend electorate know why they have failed on their promise to reopen the branch within six months,” Ms Hornery said.