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Community & Business

21 August, 2023

NAB’s numbers skewed after announcement of branch closure

Gilgandra’s NAB branch will close for the last time in just a few weeks’ time, on August 24.

By Emily Middleton

The closing of NAB didn’t come to a surprise to most customers as the local storefront has already experienced reduced staff levels, hours, and days open.

The bank claimed that more customers are choosing to do their banking online, over the phone, or by video conference, and over the counter transactions were in significant decline.

NAB stated that closing the branch was a difficult decision, and took a lot into consideration. They stated that approximately 47 per cent of their customers in Gilgandra have only visited the branch once in the last year. They also stated that seven per cent of NAB Gilgandra customers rely on branch-only banking and no other methods.

However, in a recent standing committee on economics hearing held on July 12, where there was a review of Australia’s four major banks, NAB’s measuring of in-person interactions was proven to be slight skewed.

The committee chair stated that if one were to think about banks 50-years-ago, people would think about somebody coming in, going to a counter, withdrawing cash and walking out, or coming in, depositing cash and walking out.

“With the data that you collect about branch activity, obviously that kind of engagement has reduced, but what about people coming into the bank to talk to somebody to help them navigate the digital system? How many interactions are there of a different nature? You probably record all of the different kinds of things that people do when they come in,” the chair, Daniel Mulino MP, asked.

In response, group executive of personal banking at NAB, Rachel Slade, stated that these interactions are chal- lenging to measure.

“Those interactions that don’t result in a transaction are actually very challenging to measure and we don’t measure them,” she said.

“It’s very hard to measure the non- transactional activity. When we’re look- ing at our network and the activity that is going on, we’re also engaging with our local teams about who they’re seeing, what they’re concerned about and where else their customers might be travelling to do other things in their lives. A lot of customers use more than one branch, if they are branch based bank customers, but there are very few customers—in fact, in our personal bank, it’s only about three per cent of our customers—who only use the branch.”

NAB has since announced four more regional branch closures in Kyogle, Woolgoolga, Inglewood, and Mitchell, three months after submissions to the parliamentary inquiry into regional bank closures were closed. 

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