Bankwest cites rise in mobile banking as it closes branches

CBA subsidiary slashes east coast footprint

Bankwest says that it will focus on the delivery of services through digital channels as it moves to close dozens of its branches.

The bank, a subsidiary of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, revealed today it will close 29 branches on Australia’s east coast over a three-week period beginning 17 August.

The move will leave the bank with 14 east coast branches. Some 200 employees are expected to be made redundant as a result of the decision.

“Many people still value face-to-face interactions, but customers increasingly expect seamless self-service options that allow them to do their banking when and where they choose,” said the bank’s managing director, Rowan Munchenberg.

“We’re seeing a consistent trend of customers choosing mobile banking over in-branch options for their transaction needs, with an 88 per cent rise in app logins over the past three years.

“So, we’re transforming our organisation to respond more rapidly to these changing customer needs by adopting new ways of working and embracing new technologies.”

Munchenberg said that the bank couldn’t compete with the major bank’s nationwide footprint and deliver “world class” digital services at the same time, and as a result it had decided to “prioritise digital channels and broker relationships”.

The bank is writing to customers affected by the branch closures.