Bankwest has announced it will close all its branches on the east coast of Australia by the end of October amid a winding back of its in-person banking services.
The bank’s decision comes after its 14 branches on the east coast – five in NSW and Victoria, three in Brisbane and one in Adelaide – saw a 64 per cent decline in usage.
Bankwest will now focus on investing further into improving its digital and broker services to support national home loans and on customer needs.
A decline in branch usage was also seen in Western Australia – where most of the Bankwest offices are – with the bank to adjust the opening hours in 29 of its WA branches.
The 29 affected branches will move to two and four-day weeks as customers opt to bank with the digital options.
There was a 33 per cent decline in branch transactions over the past five years while customer app usage rose 31 per cent in the past two years.
Bankwest country hub branches in Geraldton, Kalgoorlie, Albany and Bunbury will remain open five days per week.
Jason Chan, Bankwest executive general manager said the decision was made to ensure it could invest further into areas that will benefit the customers the most.
“Customers increasingly expect us to be simpler and easier to bank with via their brokers and our digital and contact centre channels, so it’s critical we meet these expectations,” he said.
“We’re exploring how we continue to get the balance right between supporting those customers who want to use branches while delivering the digital services customers expect of us.
“On the east coast, Bankwest is in a strong position to grow as a homeowner-focused digital bank due to our distinct brand, first class broker services and digital investment plans.”
Bankwest general manager for personal banking Scott Spittles added the business was in the process of up-skilling its employees to ensure the transition to a more digital banking experience was seamless.
“We want our talented colleagues, who have incredible customer service skills and experience, to continue to grow their careers with us while living and working in the communities they love,” he said.