The number of ATMS and bank branches across the country has plunged in recent years. Picture: iStock
The number of ATMS and bank branches across the country has plunged in recent years. Picture: iStock

Queensland suburbs where banks have vanished

Exclusive: The nation's banks have ripped out thousands of ATMs and shut down hundreds of branches as the number of locations to access cash plummets.

Latest figures from the self-regulatory payments body, the Australian Payments Network, recorded the removal of more than 2100 ATMs across the country during the June quarter.

The number of ATMs fell from 27,870 to 25,720 - a drop of 2150 - to the lowest level of machines available in 12 years.

It was also the biggest drop in machine numbers in any quarter since 2010.

The big four banks - ANZ, National Australia and Westpac - also shut 175 branches collectively in the past year.

The nation’s banks have ripped out thousands of ATMs and shut down hundreds of branches as the number of locations to access cash plummets. Picture: Supplied
The nation’s banks have ripped out thousands of ATMs and shut down hundreds of branches as the number of locations to access cash plummets. Picture: Supplied

Some branches that closed their doors were about 150 years old - NAB closed its Capital Office branch in Brisbane that opened in the 1870s.

ANZ closed the most branches at 68, followed by CBA at 44, Westpac at 36 and NAB at 27.

Westpac removed the most ATMs at 84, followed by ANZ at 73 and NAB at 21.

CBA refused to disclose the number of ATM closures.

The Reserve Bank of Australia's head of payments policy Tony Richards said there was a fall in ATM withdrawals in the early stages of the pandemic as "consumers and merchants showed a preference for using cards over cash".

"Most of the ATMs removed have been in metropolitan areas, particularly in locations like shopping malls where there are multiple ATMs close by," he said.

"Overall the bank expects the long-term downward trend in the use of cash to continue."

Many banks have also recorded a large increase to the number of customers interactions through their digital channels.

Latest RBA data showed in the June the numbers of cash withdrawals was 31.4 million compared to 46.8 million 12 months ago.

And the value of cash withdrawn in June was $8.8 billion compared to $10.9 billion in July last year.

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The Australian Banking Association's chief executive officer Anna Bligh said, "since 2012 Australians have been using less and less cash, COVID-19 has only accelerated that trend".

"Australia's banks have invested heavily to keep up with the customers banking preferences with technology and data now playing a key role in how banks do their business".

EFTPOS terminal numbers fell by 22,000 in the June quarter compared to the March quarter.

National Seniors Australia chief advocate Ian Henschke said, "2.5 million Australians don't do online banking".

"Many of them are older Australians and taking away services from them is going to be extremely difficult for them," he said.

"If you haven't got a computer, you haven't got a smartphone and you haven't been involved in the credit card world cash is what you've got."

Mr Henschke said many older Australians "were wary of being scammed and they feel more comfortable with cash".



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