14 Feb WESTPAC CAVES ON REGIONAL QUEENSLANDERS
Katter’s Australian Party leader Robbie Katter says he’s astonished at the bold and highly misguided decision of Westpac Bank to close its branch in the North West town of Cloncurry.
The announcement came as Westpac “responds” to its customer service preference, stating that their customers were using branches less and less.
“The closure of these three branches is a real kick in the guts for rural Queenslanders,” Mr Katter said.
“They’re taking away the ability for their customers to sit down face-to-face with someone to ask questions, make decisions and address problems.
“The closure of the Cloncurry branch is leaving residents who bank with Westpac facing a three-hour round trip to Mount Isa if they want or need direct assistance.”
Mr Katter advised that the Cloncurry district was home to many booming industries and the need for a store front bank in the region remained.
“Cloncurry has a growing population and very large, flourishing cattle and mining industries.
“This is a strong growth area and they are pulling out, therefore, we must assume that Westpac is indiscriminately and progressively pulling away from agribusiness and regional Queensland in general.”
Mr Katter said there were some large private family businesses in Cloncurry with combined asset values of about $5 billion who all banked with Westpac.
“This is a big deal for Westpac, even before you start adding in local mining contractors and other businesses,” he said.
“I would say that Westpac is very bold taking these types of customers on. I’d also say they’ve not done their research properly, putting Cloncurry in the small regional town basket, not the booming economical basket it belongs in.”
Closures of banks in regional communities was something Mr Katter had been working hard to combat.
On Friday, he met with Cloncurry locals who expressed their concerns regarding the closure.
“They’re not about to let the doors of that branch close without a fight,” Mr Katter said.
“They’ve got something to lose with the impending closure, but it appears, so does Westpac.”
He joined the calls of Cloncurry customers to Westpac to listen and leave the doors open.
The Cloncurry Shire Council had developed a petition requesting that Westpac Bank reconsider the closure of the Cloncurry branch. To sign the petition and find more information, visit Robbie Katter MP’s Facebook page.