Newcastle Permanent defends branch closure after criticism in NSW Parliament

By , 18/03/2019 15:07

Newcastle Permanent CEO Terry Millet says there has been a significant shift in the way people do their banking, with the rise of digital platforms.Newcastle Permanent has dismissed a claim that it’s abandoningthe western suburbs, after Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery took aim at the financial institution in NSW Parliament this week.

The Labor MP criticised Newcastle Permanent for the recent closure of its Lambton branch, which came on the heels ofshut-downs at John Hunter Hospital and the University of Newcastle.

“Lambton residents and business owners have been left aghast by this decision by the Newcastle Permanent,” she said.

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“Despite being some of the most profitable companies in , financial institutions have abandoned the people in the western suburbs by closing vital services like this one in Lambton.”

But Newcastle Permanent CEO Terry Millett said the institution had seven branches within 5km of the former Lambton office on Elder Street andhad30 across the Hunter.

He said the decisions to close the Lambton, John Hunteranduniversity branches weremotivated by the need to“invest ourmembers’ funds efficiently and responsibly”.

Newcastle Permanent CEO Terry Millett.

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“Over the past few years the Lambton, John Hunter Hospital, and University of Newcastle branches have experienced a significant decline in over-the-counter transactions and local customer visits,” Mr Millett said.

“While we value our loyal customers at these branches, many of our customers preferred the convenience of being able to manage their everyday banking onlineand be supported by our local customer contact centre.”

Mr Millett said the organisationwas“committed to the people of the Hunter”, buttechnological advances had shifted the way people did their banking.

State Labor MP for Wallsend Sonia Hornery.

He said the ATM would be retained at Lambton.

“Keeping this branch open is no longer sustainable when we have to invest in providing services to customersthat prefer digital channels,” he said.

Ms Hornery wrote to Newcastle Permanent to ask for the closureto be reviewed.

“These institutions love to spruik their credentials as being local and friendly but don’t back it up when they close local branches and advise customers to stay loyal and just get online,” she said.

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