“Suncorp Bank customers, I urge you to support businesses that support your local town. As a result of Suncorp Bank’s decision to pull services from Kingaroy, Miles, Goondiwindi and Stanthorpe – do your banking and insurance elsewhere,” Mr Littleproud said.
“This blanket closure and total lack of transparency is disgusting. Late last year, I learned Suncorp was about to abandon bush customers, by closing retail branches, so I urgently requested the bank release its customer usage rates.
“Despite my calls for the bank to be honest and transparent, Suncorp will close its Kingaroy, Miles, Goondiwindi and Stanthorpe retail branches tomorrow and are choosing profits over people by abandoning rural communities in my electorate.”
This is the latest in a string of closures affecting the Maranoa electorate – Suncorp Bank, Bank of Queensland, Heritage Bank and ANZ late last year confirmed they were abandoning bush customers.
“These four banks are blaming declining customer numbers and the rise of internet banking for the closure decision but when I challenged them to release customer usage data, all but ANZ refused,” Mr Littleproud said.
Mr Littleproud made numerous requests and has spoken with the banks, pushing for the release all branch closure locations and the customer usage rates for each branch affected but the calls have, mostly, been refused.
“ANZ was first to come clean and revealed it was shutting a branch that people were supporting, as the usage rate was at Jandowae was 30 per cent – that’s six times higher than the 5 per cent national average,” he said.
“Suncorp, BoQ and Heritage all refused to reveal these customer usage rate figures so it begs the question: What are they hiding?
“The banks need to release this data to prove why they’re shutting branches. I believe rural communities are entitled to know the trigger point that kicked off this blanket closure or, at least, be given the opportunity to support an underutilised service.
“There was no warning the branches were in danger of closure; these banks just announce it in the media with little consultation with the community or its customers.”
A Suncorp spokeswoman responded to Mr Littleproud’s comments, saying that while transactional banking services were withdrawn from Miles from Friday, business banking services will remain and are not affected by the change.
“This decision has not been taken lightly,” she said.
“It is based on a range of factors including the alternative services that are available to customers in the community.
“Our digital care teams and contact centres are available by phone and email, and our partnership with Australia Post allows customers to withdraw and deposit money, check account balances and pay bills, including credit cards, from Post Offices using a Suncorp card and PIN.
“Approximately half our retail customers in Miles also visit other Suncorp locations to do their banking and around three-quarters are registered for internet banking.
“Research shows over-the-counter transactions in branches are in decline, while the level of customer registration for online services is significant, and growing.”
Recent closure announcements in Maranoa:
- Suncorp Bank: Will close Kingaroy, Miles, Goondiwindi and Stanthorpe branches. Refused to reveal customer usage rates.
- Bank of Queensland: Revealed it will close its Miles branch. Refused to reveal customer usage rates.
- Heritage Bank: Set to close 26 mini branches, would not reveal all locations to Mr Littleproud. Refused to reveal customer usage rates.
- ANZ: Announced it would shut the Jandowae branch, even though its patronage was six times higher than the national average.