Tumbarumba’s National Australia Bank branch will close tomorrow and Snowy Valleys Councillor and long-time Tumbarumba local Bruce Wright isn’t buying the bank’s line that such a branch is no longer necessary in the town.
“Over the past few years, fewer customers are coming into branches to do their banking and foot traffic has lessened dramatically, which has been accelerated by Covid-19,” an NAB spokesman said when the closure was announced in May.
“Approximately 60 per cent of our customers in Tumbarumba have only visited the branch once in the last year and 80 per cent of customers are also using other branches in the region such as Tumut and Wagga Wagga.”
However, Cr Wright is having none of the excuses.
“It is bitterly disappointing that another big business has abandoned a smaller community,” he said.
“They have treated us with total disrespect.”
The NAB has stated that the branch’s two employees have secured ongoing employment.
“It is still two jobs lost to our community, and it is all the more reason to back the local Bendigo Bank,” Cr Wright said.
“At least they put some profits back into the community and employ all local people, as well as provide terrific service.”
Cr Wright believes those hardest hit by the NAB branch closure are the elderly.
“They have backed the bank for generations and now they are being abandoned,” he said.
“A lot of older people like the personal contact from going into the bank and talking to a friendly person.”
Cr Wright and wife Colleen were NAB customers when Mrs Wright ran a gift shop in Tumbarumba.
“For a while, the NAB branch has only been open two or three days a week, but people could work around that,” he said.