Commonwealth Bank has closed 114 branches across the nation to deal with staffing needs elsewhere and a drop in patronage during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Transaction volumes at CBA branches have dropped significantly with a large increase in customers doing their banking online
- CBA says the branch closures will be temporarily and across the country, primarily in metro areas
- Branch ATMs will still operate, the banks says
The “temporary” closures mean about 500 staff are being redeployed to call centres and online operations to help meet demand from people seeking financial assistance.
Since the coronavirus pandemic was declared in early March, CBA had received more than a million calls and online requests for help, the bank said.
Calls for hardship assistance have increased by 800 per cent, a spokesperson said.
“Over the same period, visits by customers to bank branches have fallen more than 50 per cent in some branches as people follow social distancing and lockdown requirements,” the spokesperson said.
Transaction volumes in the branches had dropped significantly as a result, while there has been a large increase in customers doing their banking online.
“As a result we are stepping up our support for customers by planning to reassign, from May 7, about 500 branch staff to our call centres and online operations,” the spokesperson said.
“This means we will temporarily close a number of branches across the country, primarily in metro areas.”
The CBA spokesperson said most of the temporary closures would happen at branches near where another branch is operating normally within five kilometres.
Branches have been closed in regional NSW, including Maitland, Wingham near Taree, Thirroul and Mittagong in the south of the state, and at the Dubbo mall.
Coronavirus update: Follow all the latest news in our daily wrap
CBA said branches will be closed for a period of up to six months with the situation reviewed regularly as to when to re-open them, depending on customer need and when the lockdown restrictions are lifted or relaxed, said the CBA.
Branch ATMs would still operate, the bank said.
Your questions on coronavirus answered:
Norman Swan looks at mental health issues associated with coping with coronavirus