Commonwealth Bank will reduce opening times at a range of regional Tasmanian branches to shift more services to over-the-phone in a move one Northern mayor has described as "disappointing".
Branches in Deloraine, Scottsdale, Exeter, George Town, Longford and St Helens will reduce their hours to 9.30am to 1pm, with staff then assisting the nationwide call centre from 1.45pm.
The branch at St Marys will be shut down from next week and in-person customers directed to the reduced-hours St Helens - over 30 minutes away - prompting a petition from the local community. Commonwealth Bank also shut its Newstead branch in August last year.
The reduction in hours further diminishes in-person banking services in regional Tasmania, including in the Meander Valley, with mayor Wayne Johnston saying he held concerns for elderly customers and also for potential local job losses.
"I wonder when the big banks are going to work out that their customers are their customers," he said.
"Obviously this is a decision that's been made by Commonwealth Bank in their head office, rather than locally with local communities.
"I'm disappointed, but not surprised."
Bendigo Bank has been growing its presence in regional Tasmania in recent years, including in Deloraine, and Cr Johnston was confident that town would retain this in-person service.
Commonwealth Bank's decision drew sharp criticism from Lyons Labor MHR Brian Mitchell, whose electorate would see a reduction in hours in three towns.
He encouraged people to reconsider their choice of bank.
"Banks that already post multi-billion-dollar profits continue to slash services to regional customers. It's arrogant and greedy and illustrates the contempt that big banks have for their regional customers," Mr Mitchell said.
"Next week the Commonwealth closes its branch in St Marys and told customers they could bank at St Helens. Now they're being told they'll have to make it to St Helens before 1pm.
"It's a bloody joke but only the bank is laughing."
Nine Tasmanian branches were among 90 across Australia that were affected by the changes.
In a statement, Commonwealth Bank executive manager customer service network Mark Jones said the staff would assist the call centre in the afternoon which was receiving "increasingly complex customer enquiries".
"Our branches in regional Australia will continue to play an important role in delivering great service to our customers now and into the future, and this is an example of how we are adapting to meet changing customers' evolving needs while ensuring jobs stay in regional communities," he said.
"We're expanding our Australian-based contact centre network from five dedicated locations to over 90 communities across the country, while keeping a physical banking presence in regional communities."
Commonwealth Bank services will remain at more than 3500 Australia Post outlets, having recently extended this partnership until 2032.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
What do you think? Send us a letter to the editor: