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Regional Bank Closure Report reinforces our role in communities

The findings from the Senate Inquiry into Regional Bank Closures have been released with eight recommendations included in the report.

“We welcome the report and the recognition of the important role bank branches play in regional communities.” Mr Capello said.

“As the CEO of Hume Bank, a customer owned, purpose led bank I was very pleased to have the opportunity to make a submission to the inquiry and to appear at the public hearing in June last year.”
“Our submission centred on the vital role that bank branches play in our regional community, and that regional Australians need and deserve access to essential services.”

“We understand face-to-face banking services are important to our customers and that access to these essential services are critical for businesses, community organisations and individuals.”

“Whilst the report noted that banks have failed regional Australians with almost 800 branch services closing between 2017-2023, Hume Bank continues to support our community with the largest branch network in the region, and we expect this to continue. In March 2023, we opened our 15th branch in Holbrook in partnership with Greater Hume Council to meet the needs of this community.”

“We welcome a number of the recommendations,” said Mr Capello, “while we believe others require careful consideration to avoid any unintended consequences.”

“It was particularly pleasing to see the report note that reasonable access to cash and financial services is essential for all Australians, and a recommendation on the requirement for meaningful community consultation prior to all bank closures. At Hume Bank, our close community connectivity and partnership with local organisations provide a solid base for ongoing engagement on the effectiveness of our banking services.”

“One of the more challenging recommendations relates to the recommendation to investigate the establishment of a public owned bank. Whilst the positive intent is understandable, this needs to be thought through so that any unintended consequences, such as de-stabilising the great work that many mutual banks do in supporting our regional communities are fully understood.”

“Based on the growing concern around regional communities having access to face-to-face banking services, I encourage everyone to understand their options. Where there are banks available with branches, consider switching to them. Customer-owned banks like Hume Bank need the reciprocal support of the community to be sustainable over time.”

To hear more about the Senate Inquiry’s report you can listen to CEO, Stephan Capello’s interview on 2AY below.