Westpac packs up in Wingham

Westpac's 'closure of agency' sign looks more like an advertisement for new services.

Westpac's 'closure of agency' sign looks more like an advertisement for new services.

JUST months after Westpac Banking Corporation closed its Wingham St George bragency and others in rural areas, the bank is now also closing 147 rural Westpac in-store agencies, including the Wingham Newsagency in-store.

The Wingham in-store will be closed from September 26.

Westpac are advising their customers that they can now do their banking at Australia Post outlets or using online or phone banking or the Bent St ATM at LJ Hooker.

Alternatively customers can travel to the Taree Branch. 

The small sign on the newsagency window and the bigger sign on the in-store window look more like an advertisement for something new, rather than notice of a closure, stating "there's a new way to bank locally".

While some customers have said that they don't mind going to the Post Office to do their banking, others are definitely not happy.

"Why are they taking all of the banking away from our town?" asked one customer, who did not want her name published. "We've lost the ANZ, St George and the Newcastle Permanent.

"Everyone is going to either change banks or have to travel. Look at the demographics of this town" she said, meaning our large elderly population. "How many are going to travel to Taree or use the internet?"

The same customer added that she doesn't want to do her banking at the post office because "the post office is always flat out and you feel like you're a nuisance."

No matter whether people were not unduly bothered or were unhappy with the closure, the general consensus is that they are losing personal contact.

"It's so lovely to come here and there's always someone to say 'hello, how are you?' It's the personal touch that's so lovely," said customer Maggie Young.

The Wingham Chronicle heard the rumour that Westpac would be closing the Wingham in-store agency a few months ago, but Westpac would neither confirm nor deny whether it was taking place.

Group executive Westpac retail and business banking Mr Yetton said the bank’s 250 regional branches were unchanged by the announcement. 

This story Westpac packs up in Wingham first appeared on Wingham Chronicle.