Mary of the quiet generation demands to be heard as banks close doors

The huge banks have closed 435 branches throughout Australia within the two years to January, in keeping with figures provided by the Finance Sector Union.

That comes on prime of 640 branches closed by all banks throughout Australia between 2017 and the tip of 2019, in keeping with a submission by the union to the Regional Banking Taskforce final yr.

Plenty of rural and regional cities have misplaced all their branches, as everybody within the nation is aware of, leaving the native put up workplace because the final probability for these needing to undertake restricted transactions.

But it’s taking place throughout huge cities, too. More than 30 branches have closed within the Melbourne metropolitan space up to now couple of years.


We can reel off figures, together with these regarding the fats, multibillion-dollar earnings of the banks, or recall the findings of banking inquiries and royal commissions, and nonetheless fail to elucidate the sense of loss afflicting many older individuals for whom the native financial institution department represents certitude and neighborhood.

Allow us, then, to show over this column to a lady who can outline the expertise with uncommon eloquence. Offended by a financial institution’s resolution to shut her native department in Fairfield, six kilometres north-east of Melbourne’s CBD, she has written to the CEO of the Commonwealth Bank, Matt Comyn.

Mark her phrases. They come from a spot deep inside a quiet technology’s dismay.

“Dear Mr Comyn,

“I write as a CBA customer of over 80 years, a former employee and the wife of the longest-serving CBA employee ever, John Coates, whose record of 48 years and 7 months is acknowledged in the attached documents from the Commonwealth Banking Corporation in 1988.

“While I was not shocked to receive a letter today advising me of the closure of the Fairfield, Victoria branch, I am grossly disappointed in the Bank’s decision.

“No doubt the decision was made on the grounds of some measure of profitability. However the CBA has a community responsibility obligation, as well as an obligation to shareholders, of which I am one. This is clearly spelled out in the Bank’s Mission Statement:

The objective of our business strategy is to deliver balanced and sustainable outcomes for our customers, community, people, and shareholders. Our focus areas are financial education, contributing to the community, and good business practices.

“I am now almost 94 years old and although living at home I can just walk the half-block to the local CBA branch in Fairfield and be ably assisted with all my banking needs, including reinvestment of term deposits, by the branch manager, Dennis Koutsoukos, Vera and Vivienne, as well as the other staff.

“They recognise me, know me by name and while my family have found better interest rates elsewhere, I trust the staff and have been loyal to the CBA because of my history with the Bank.

“While the majority of young people might find it easy to bank online, I prefer to use a passbook account which immediately records any deposits and withdrawals, thus enabling me to manage my own finances on a regular basis, rather than waiting for the six-monthly bank statements. I object to paying vendor fees when I use my credit card and will not be happy about paying private ATM service fees to access my own cash.

“In the attached newspaper article in 1988 about my husband’s retirement from the Bank, I draw your attention to his comments when asked about what had changed in banking over his 48 years and 7 months with the Bank.

“He focused on the fundamentals of banking not having changed. ‘You still look at people, talk to them and make judgements on their character.’ He went on to talk about the importance of the personal touch.

“In line with your mission statement, I urge you to please reconsider the decision to close the Fairfield branch, which will have significant deleterious effects on the Bank’s reputation and on our local community.

“Yours sincerely

“Mary Eleanor Coates”

And so, you might be certain, say many like her.


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