Jan 25, 2005

Outrage as ‘Which Bank’ closes branch


MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 25 January 2005

The Federal Member for Grayndler, Anthony Albanese and the State Member for Heffron, Kristina Keneally have expressed their anger at the Commonwealth Bank’s decision to close its Sydenham branch.

Mr Albanese and Ms Keneally met with Commonwealth Bank officials last Friday but were told the closure was not negotiable. It comes in the wake of the Commonwealth Bank advertising in local newspapers just this week that “no branch has been closed since 2002”.

“The fact is, this area of the electorate is largely populated by the elderly and migrants on low incomes and this branch is therefore not as profitable as others for the Commonwealth Bank. This closure is largely motivated by profit margins from a Bank that has been making record profits,” said Mr Albanese.

Ms Keneally expressed concern that no community consultation had taken place nor could the bank point to an adequate attempt to relocate the branch to a safer location within the same area.

“The people that use this branch are elderly, often do not speak English and cannot use an ATM – face to face contact is essential for them to manage their finances. In terms of shops and amenities, Sydenham is an isolated community,” said Ms Keneally.

The Commonwealth has reneged on its promise to consult with the community before closing a branch.

It has further marginalised an already isolated community and shown contempt for its customers by automatically transferring accounts to other branches.

The Commonwealth Bank should reconsider it decision for the good of the Sydenham community. We call upon Marrickville Council to take action against the Commonwealth Bank if they do not reconsider.