Westpac bank branch in Sorell set to close its doors in October - "The Mercury"

There are concerns Westpac customers living on the East Coast will need to travel further to access services, as the Westpac Sorell branch prepares to shut its doors.

Labor MP Brian Mitchell said the closure of the branch set for October 15, is a blow to the community.

“There will be no Westpac anywhere on the east coast, the closest one is in Rosny, that’s a 20 minute drive from Sorell,” Mr Mitchell said.

Mr Mitchell said as the population of Sorell continues to grow, there’s a greater need for services.

“The amount of growth in Sorell is extraordinary,” he said.

“To have a big bank abandoning a fast growing regional hub like Sorell makes no sense.

“If a bank can’t figure out how to turn a profit in a fast-growing region like Sorell, what hope do other towns across regional Tasmania have of keeping their branches?

The upcoming closure of the Westpac Sorell branch comes after the sudden closure of a Commonwealth Bank branch at St Marys along with the closure of a Kingston Bendigo Bank branch, both in August.

At Commonwealth Bank branches in Deloraine, Longford and St Helens, operating hours were also cut back.

“In recent years the ANZ and NAB have also cut their networks,” Mr Mitchell said.

“This closure shows that the big banks are determined to close their regional branch networks, replacing them with online services and limited Australia Post banking.

“Is this the future of banking in Tasmania?”

Mr Mitchell said it wasn’t good enough for small businesses to rely on the post office for face-to-face banking.

“The businesses in St Marys, they can’t do their businesses with Australia Post so they have to travel.”

Mr Mitchell urged affected customers to move their business.

“What we need to get back to is the idea of human centred service where people can get the information in person,” he said.

A Westpac spokesperson said there was declining foot traffic at bank branches.

“When we do close a branch, it is not a decision we take lightly,” they said.

“We take into consideration customer usage, location, and proximity to other banking services.

"Westpac will continue to support Sorell customers via our email/Bank)(Post option with Australia Post, which is located just 380 metres from the current branch.”