Four rural towns will be without a bank as Westpac shuts the doors on 23 branches around Australia, confirming fears that a recent inquiry will do little to stop closures.
The Finance Sector Union said it had been notified of the closures and loss of 92 jobs across the Westpac group, including St George, Bank of Melbourne and BankSA branches.
Coober Pedy, Kapundah and Tailem Bend in South Australia, and Carnamah in WA will be without a bank, while Hay in NSW will be left with only a Commonwealth Bank when its Westpac branch shuts.
Other regional cities and towns losing Westpac group branches include Moree in NSW, Shepparton in Victoria, Port Douglas in Queensland and Katherine in the NT.
There will be closures in several city suburbs, including North Sydney and Weston, in the ACT.
The union said Westpac announced 95 closures in the last four months, leaving staff worried about their jobs and communities concerned about losing a vital service.
"This is the most appalling decimation of a branch network by a bank which is now on the verge of abandoning its social contract with the community," national secretary Julia Angrisano said.
"Hundreds of banking jobs have been lost as Westpac rips through what's left of its branches."
A Westpac spokeswoman said the company redeploys staff after a closure and helps workers through counselling and career transition support.
It had followed Australian Banking Association guidelines on community engagement in the areas affected by closures, she said.
Westpac put the closures down to a shift towards online banking, leading to a decline in customers who use bank branches.
The federal government's Regional Banking Taskforce, set up under the coalition to examine the impact of bank closures on country Australia, handed down its report on September 30, finding many communities were unable to do basic business.
It found vulnerable people, including the elderly, disabled and Indigenous communities, faced greater challenges when banks closed their doors.
Farmers also suffer as they often rely on face-to-face contact with trusted bank managers to oversee their enterprises.
After the report was released by the incoming Labor government, the task force's co-chair, Nationals senator Perin Davey, said the inquiry could have gone further and regulated the operation of the last bank in a town.
The town of Berrigan in NSW recently lost its last branch, forcing the council to provide banking services at the expense of ratepayers.
Shire chief executive Karina Ewer said she had little faith the report's recommendations would change bank behaviour.
"Banks always say 'more and more people are moving online', but it's not a choice, we're forced to," Ms Ewer told AAP earlier this month.
"A lot of people out here don't have internet connection, so to assume it's equitable is incorrect."
Australian Associated Press