NAB announces plan to shut down more branches in the wake of online banking

NAB has revealed it saw a further 30% reduction in over the counter and basic servicing transactions in its branches in the last year.

National Australia Bank (NAB) has announced plans that it will be closing its physical bank branches in parts of the country as more customers choose to bank online.

While the bank has not disclosed how many branches will be closed or when, it noted that "in some areas" branches will no longer exist. Instead, the company plans to focus its attention on its digital platform.

NAB executive retail Krissie Jones revealed in a statement that NAB will be adding more 280 staff to assist customers with phone and digital banking enquiries, and into operations roles.

An additional 134 new small business bankers are also being recruited to be based in regional locations, including Warragul, Victoria; Albany, Western Australia; Lismore, New South Wales; Rockhampton, Queensland; Toowoomba, Queensland, she added.

The recruitment of additional small business bankers will be in addition to 130 operational support team members who are currently being recruited in regional and rural Australia, along with the 150 new remote bankers in South Australia that are assisting customers with phone and digital banking enquiries.

"Our investment in our services and locations is guided by how customers are banking. More than 93% of customer interactions are now taking place over the phone, by video, or online," Jones said.

"Over the past several years, fewer customers are coming into branches and foot traffic has lessened dramatically. Over the last year alone, we have seen a further 30% reduction in over the counter and basic servicing transactions in our branches."

The bank added customers who still want to bank at a physical location can choose to do so at 3,500 Australia Post outlets around the country, where they can check account balances, pay bills, and make deposits up to AU$10,000 cash, or withdrawals up to AU$2,000 per day.  

NAB ended the 2020 financial year with a near-50% drop in net profit but with a focus on digital, as it looked to reap the rewards from its tech transformation project.

The red and black bank reported AU$2.56 billion in statutory net profit, down 47% from the AU$4.8 billion posted a year prior. Revenue was also down 1.4%, mainly due to COVID-19-related fee waivers, NAB said. 

In delivering its 2017 results, NAB promised an investment of AU$1.5 billion over three years in a bid to ensure the bank would be ready for the changing, "digital-first" world. 

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