Westpac has announced it is about to exit Mullumbimby, giving local account-holders just five days’ notice of its intention to close the agency in the town.
Its final day of operation will be next Tuesday (September 15).
The last remaining Westpac branch in Byron Shire will now be in Byron Bay, with the Bangalow and Brunswick Heads branches having closed some years ago.
Westpac account-holder Tony Campbell said he was shocked to receive a letter from the bank just yesterday giving him the news.
Mr Campbell told Echonetdaily it seemed ‘pretty gutless’ to give such a short amount of notice.
He added the short notice ‘makes it a bit difficult to do anything about it.’
‘They say they are transferring some simple services to the post office (great –even longer queues) but if you were hoping to have any sort of face-to-face with a Westpac employee after this date forget it.’
Westpac says the agency is one of 147 that will close across regional Australia following a deal with Australia Post that will see Westpac agency functions transferred to the post office.
A Westpac spokesperson told Echonetdaily ‘the Australia Post partnership opens up a whole range of new banking options for communities across regional and remote Australia – with around 1400 regional towns now having Westpac face-to-face banking options that previously did not exist including Bangalow, Brunswick Heads, Burringbar and Billinudgel.’
‘We announced that as a result of the partnership 147 Westpac agencies (not branches) will be phased out. All these locations will now have Australia Post. That goes for Mullumbimby too,’ the spokesperson said, adding ‘the [Mullumbimby] ATM is staying.’
Regarding employment in the town, the spokesperson said, ‘Westpac agencies are not staffed by Westpac employees so I can’t talk to numbers etc as they are the employees of the particular business that runs the agency. We pay the agency to offer services on our behalf. In many instances the agency staff will remain employed by the particular business they are part of but that is a matter for the business proprietor.’