ANZ chief executive blames customers for bank branch closures.
Under Shayne Elliott, the number of ANZ branches across Australia has fallen 42 per cent from 678 in 2017 to 391 now.
Of those still operating, 250 are in major cities, 75 in inner-regional areas, 47 in outer regional cities and 19 in remote locations.
Mr Elliott, who paid $6 million last year, told a parliamentary hearing that customers complained about bank branch closures but then did almost all their transactions online.
‘What we’ve got is – and again, I don’t want to discount the reaction – but a lot of people lament the fact that branches are closing but they don’t actually use them,’ he told the House of Representatives economics committee in Canberra on Wednesday. .
‘And even when we provide alternative solutions, usage is extraordinarily low because people actually like the convenience of being able to do things digitally.’
ANZ chief executive blames customers for bank branch closures. Under Shayne Elliott’s watch, the number of ANZ branches across Australia has fallen by 42 per cent from 678 in 2017 to 391 now (pictured before the House of Representatives Economics Committee in Canberra).
Mr Elliott, who took over as CEO in 2016, argued that the rate of closures under his leadership was earlier, with only 35 branches closing by 2021 as 96 per cent of customers did their transactions digitally.
‘Only eight per cent of our customers use only one branch and we don’t have any kind of digital relationship,’ he said.
‘It’s going down fast.
‘Most of them are actually more likely to be small business operators, with more complex needs than small business people.
‘Retail customers are generally quite well served on a digital basis.’
The Kiwi-born banking veteran argued that an experiment in New Zealand, where big banks shared a branch to save costs, had not worked, but said ANZ could install smarter automated teller machines that accept cash deposits.
‘Part of the solution is ATMs, again it’s not the same but we have smart ATMs, they take deposits, dispense cash and coin machines and all sorts of things that the industry and themselves invest in to try and make it as smooth as possible. ,’ said Mr. Elliott.
He also emphasized that most of the branch closures were in city centres, using Melbourne as an example.
‘Most of the closures actually happened in big cities,’ he said.
‘It’s your classic Collins Street where in the past we had five branches, now we have three branches.
He also emphasized that most branch closures occurred in city centres, using Melbourne as an example (pictured is an ATM in Victoria).
‘That’s where the bulk happened. There were no closures regionally in remote or very remote Australia and anywhere in between.
‘It’s a response to what customers are doing.’
Mr Elliott said serving regional areas was difficult but suggested that outlying branches could remain open if working during the morning hours.
‘Remote towns, parts of the country, are generally difficult to service, whether it’s banking or supermarkets or petrol stations or whatever,’ he said.
‘From a banking point of view, we are lucky that we usually provide all these services in alternative ways, as long as there is a good internet connection or telephone service.’
But he acknowledged that customers, even though they mainly do their transactions online, were still connected to a physical branch.
‘We look at a number of things: yes, we look at foot traffic, we look at the number of customers who would consider that branch their home, their home branch and we look at the value of our total relationship with them,’ he said.
‘Whether they use the branch or now, everyone is connected to a branch and we think about the network that the branch supports, the number of conversations that people are having, not just the transaction or the counter is obviously very important but also the general interaction. and the use of that branch.
‘At some point, it gets to a point where we make a decision based on the information to keep it open.’