NAB announced on June 27 that it will be closing the Darkan bank in September which has left the community ‘stunned’.
Along with Darkan three other banks will close across Western Australia due to the way banking is changing across the country.
NAB general manager Libby Greenwood said the decision was a difficult one to make and was only made after consultation with staff.
“In regional WA, on average over 70 per cent of customers in Darkan, Tammin, Hyden and Mingenew also use other NAB branches as well as using phone and internet banking,” she said.
“For this reason, we have made a difficult decision and one we don’t take lightly, to close the Darkan, Tammin, Hyden and Mingenew agencies in September this year.
West Arthur Community Resource Centre manager Karen Prowse said Darkan only has two banks in town and NABs departure would have great ramifications.
“It has great ramifications for us but I am unsure on how we are going to cope with them.
“We rely on the NAB bank for some Bendigo transactions so that's going to be a great upheaval for us.
“When I started telling people in the town there was a stunned silence, nobody seen it coming. People are cross that there was no community consultation.”
She said it was a poor excuse to close a bank just simply because people occasionally do their banking elsewhere.
“Aren't you allowed to have a choice of doing your banking in different places? I think it was a really weak excuse, there is a lot of people in town who will be inconvenienced.
“Choices whether it is banking, health or education, increasingly they just get taken away.”
Shire of West Arthur president Ray Harrington said he was ‘disappointed’ that the bank was closing.
“As the shire president, it’s pretty disappointing that the bank is leaving town but I’m not even going to bother ringing and finding out why because the decision would have been made by higher authorities,” he said.
He said the bank’s decision to close should serve as a warning for the community to support local businesses.
“I see this as a bit of the Alamo actually,” he said.
“If Bendigo don’t pick up a fair bit of the customers that’s wandering around, I don’t know whether they’ll stay and that’s a bigger problem again.”
Ms Greenwood said NAB would help customers with alternative banking options.
“We have sent letters to our customers to let them know of the changes as well as providing information on how they can continue banking, whether that is at a nearby branch, online, over the phone or at their local Australia Post,” she said.