Dungog's Commonwealth Bank branch to close

Commonwealth Bank to say goodbye to Dungog

The Dungog branch of the Commonwealth Bank is set to close on Friday, June 4 leaving customers who want a face-to-face experience a trip to the Raymond Terrace or East Maitland branches.

The bank has cited a drop in transactions and the increase of customers choosing to use online channels for their banking.

Norm Swift, the bank's regional general manager, said following a recent review the bank made the difficult decision to permanently close the branch.

"This branch has had a 48% drop in transactions over the past five years," he said.

"Before the coronavirus pandemic, around two-thirds of our customers were using digital channels for their everyday banking needs, like transferring funds, making payments and checking account balances, while only 6% of customers visited our branches for these tasks.

"The coronavirus pandemic has also accelerated a continuing shift in banking behaviour with a significant proportion of our customers seeking assistance through our Australian-based contact centres. In particular, calls to our hardship line increased by 800 per cent compared to the period before the pandemic.

"Naturally, this has also resulted in a significant increase in customers self-serving on the app or via NetBank, and a significant reduction in foot traffic in our branches.

The Mutual Bank remains the only financial institution in Dungog. Westpac closed its branch doors in 2017 and the National Bank branch closed in 2020.

Customers in older demographics are actively engaging with CBA online, Mr Swift said.

"For customers over the age of 60, more than twice as many had accessed NetBank or the CommBank App in the past month, compared to the number who had visited a branch in the last three months.

"We do recognise that some older customers do prefer to do their banking face to face and this is one of the reasons why CBA is proud to maintain the largest branch network in the country.

"We've also found that nearly 20% of customers from Dungog are already visiting surrounding branches.

"Additionally, the Dungog LPO Australia Post outlet a few doors down the road is available for customers to conduct personal and business banking transactions such as withdrawals, deposits and bill payments including passbooks during normal business hours."

The nearest Commonwealth Bank branches are at East Maitland and Raymond Terrace.

Customers can also access their accounts 24 hours a day through NetBank or the CommBank App.