Australia has witnessed more than 1600 bank branch closures since 2017, with hundreds axed in the past year as financial institutions increasingly turn to online systems.
In the last financial year alone, 309 branches closed their doors, with Westpac to draw the shutters on outlets in Campbelltown, Moree, Port Douglas, Gisbourne and other locations in the coming months.
ATMs are also disappearing at a shocking rate, with less than half the number in Australian cities and towns than there was six years ago.
There are currently 6,412 ATMs across Australia, down from 13,814 in 2017.
The new figures come as Westpac announces it is set to close down another 23 branches across Australia, drawing the ire of the Financial Sector Union (FSU).
The closures are set to rock towns which are losing their last bank, such as Coober Pedy, Kapunda, Tailem Bend and Carnamah, according to FSU national secretary Julia Angrisano.
“This is the most appalling decimation of a branch network by a bank which is now on the verge of abandoning its social contract with the community,” Ms Angrisano told news.com.au.
More than 1000 branches have closed across the nation’s major cities, while 500 have been axed across NSW in the past six years.
Remote Australia saw its number of branches slashed by nearly a third, with only 102 branches left in those regions.
Those in the outer regions have had 248 branches axed, leaving just 569 outlets to service vast areas of rural Australia.
“We need the Federal Government to step in and stop the banks from deserting regional Australia,” Ms Angrisano said.
“Banks can’t be trusted to do the right thing by regional communities because when considering whether to close branches, they only consider their massive profits and the bonuses of senior executives.
“They don’t care about bank staff and the communities which will be impacted by their decisions to shut branch doors.”