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NAB CEO: More branch closures in regional Australia “inevitable”

The boss of one of Australia’s big four banks says more branch closures are “inevitable” across rural and regional Australia, after announcing a new policy to assist drought-stricken farmers.

NAB will also review how it exits regional towns after a wave of branch closures in recent years.

Neil Mitchell told CEO Andrew Thorburn the most complained about aspect is most often branch closures.

“I think we’ve done about 20 in the past year,” Mr Thorburn said.

“I think these are really difficult, because the population is shrinking, the butcher, the hardware store, the service station, the bank is just a commercial enterprise like them and the business is just not coming in, people aren’t using it as much.

“We end up with branches where there’s not that many transactions coming through and we’re down to a couple of staff, there’s training issues, there’s security issues.

“I think it’s inevitable, (that there will be more).”

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“These changes we’ve made, feedback from clients and I think the royal commission has played a part,” he added.

“This change to offsets, to default interest, and this broader review we’re doing, to how to we support rural and regional Australia because we think there’s growth there.”