"MP backs local branch" - The Mercury

THE Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s recent announcement that it will close the St Marys branch on August 6 is the latest rural branch closure “hollowing out regional towns”, federal Labor member for Lyons Brian Mitchell says.

Mr Mitchell has launched a petition to fight the major bank’s sudden closure of the branch in the Fingal Valley.

“This was a top down, arrogant, outof-touch decision from corporate headquarters,” he said.

“They just don’t care about their regional customers.”

Mr Mitchell held a stall in the township on Wednesday and collected 181 valid signatures.

The online petition has gained 150 signatures.

“The community knows it’s unlikely the petition will make a difference, but we don’t want to make it easy for them,’’ he said.

“We want to give them a kick on the way out.”

Mr Mitchell said the AusPost outlet next door to the St Marys CBA branch had recently signed a deal with big banks to offer front-desk banking, but their services were limited and did not include an ATM.

“The nearest (CBA) branch is St Helens, which is more than 35km away through a winding and narrow mountain pass,” he said.

Also backing the cause are Break O’Day Council Mayor Mick Tucker, Deputy Mayor Jon McGiveron and state member for Lyons Guy Barnett.

Mr Mitchell hoped rent relief would be an incentive for Bendigo Bank to replace the branch.

CBA regional general manager David Castle said losing more than a third of branch transactions in the last five years prompted the decision to not to renew the lease.

“We’ve found that 26 per cent of customers from St Marys are already visiting St Helens branch,” Mr Castle said.

As seen in The Mercury - (https://www.themercury.com.au/business/tasmania-business/councillor-submits-emergency-motion-over-unacceptable-bank-branch-closure/news-story/39b84940a63ba62e90ac17a1659b522c)