Australia Post is looking at ways to support regional towns affected by ongoing small town bank branch closures.
Chief executive Paul Graham told senate estimates the corporation – namely Bank at Post – was attempting to evolve to meet the needs of regional Australians, particularly in towns where the post office was now the only banking facility available.
It comes a day after the big four banks were made subject to a new inquiry that will examine the economic and welfare impacts of losing banks in regional Australia.
The inquiry will also look at the process banks are following to close branches, and the reason being given.
Senator Matt Canavan wrote to the banks on Monday asking them to put their slated closures on hold until the committee reports back at the end of the year.
Noting there are 1150 Australia Post branches around the country which serve as a town’s sole bank or financial institution, Mr Graham conceded there was a “whole bunch of areas” that still needed to be explored and improved to ensure regional Australians had access to basic banking services.
Australia Post chief executive Paul Graham was questioned at senate estimates on Tuesday. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David Crosling
“(Not having access to cash) remains a cause for concern. Our original Bank at Post agreement wasn’t set up as well for what we now see is occurring,” Mr Graham told senate estimates on Tuesday.
“Small businesses particularly was not fully understood (as being significant when first set up).
“We need to make sure we’re physically set up. We need to (also) be looking at the delivery of cash.
“There are a whole bunch of areas that need to be explored … And there is work to be done with banks to understand what the needs of community are.”
Mr Graham said banking services were available through Australia Post at 3500 locations in total.