The COVID-19 pandemic pushed users online in the majority of areas, including online banking. This change has resulted in almost 300 bank branches across Australia closing down. Many banks closed temporarily during the height of the pandemic, however, many that did will never reopen. This has left some communities with no local bank – a concerning outcome for communities who can’t access online banking.
Mortlake in Western Victoria now has no local bank meaning the 1300 residents will need to travel 40 kilometres to the nearest bank branch. All residents, particularly the elderly, have been impacted by this inconvenient change that assumes all residents either have access to online banking or can drive the distance to the next bank branch.
With more than 2.5 millions without access to the Internet banks have a social responsibility to provide branch services. National Seniors Australia Chief Advocate, Ian Henschke, likens these closes to a “form of institutionalised elder abuse.”