CHOICE calls for end to banking stories in rural areas – news of the area

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Patrick Veyret, CHOICE Banking campaigner urges residents of the region to share their banking stories

Has your ATM or local bank disappeared, closed, or just left town without saying goodbye to you?

On the Coffs Coast, with our rural reach, many of us rely on our local “hole in the wall” to conveniently withdraw our money.

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In rural areas, when the local bank closes, it often means a trip to town for our more detailed banking activities.

CHOICE, the consumer group calls on Australians to share their stories about their regional banking experiences.

Patrick Veyret, CHOICE’s banking campaign manager, told News Of The Area: “Many of us depend on bank branches and ATMs to access essential banking services.

“As the shift to online banking accelerates, we need to make sure that no one is left behind.

“The government wants to hear from communities affected by bank decisions to close branches and remove ATMs.

“We urge Australians to share their thoughts with CHOICE to make their voices heard.

“Many Australians live in a regional area and it is essential that people can access banking services in the bush,” said Patrick.

The government has set up a working group to assess the impact of bank branch closures on regional communities.

CHOICE is in the process of drafting a submission that will call for equitable access to banking services for all.

“In this framework, we want to include real stories of people affected or concerned about access to banking services.

“Since June 2017, there have been over 500 bank branch closures in the Australian region.

“It could mean you have to drive for hours to get to a bank branch, or the only ATM in town is a private ATM with a fee to withdraw money.

“We want to show the federal government why communities care about equitable access to banks and ATMs in the regions.

“As the shift to online banking accelerates, we need to make sure that no one is left behind.

“The government will hear from the Big Four banks, so we need to make sure they hear from the communities and consumers affected by their decisions to close branches and remove ATMs,” said Patrick.

CHOICE asks people to share their stories about regional banking services at www.choice.com.au/regionalbanking.

By Andrea FERRARI


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