ANZ bank branch’s reduced opening hours in Derby leaves locals hot under the collar

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The community of the Western Australian town of Derby has expressed frustration over the local ANZ bank branch’s restrictive hours, saying vulnerable people and local businesses often struggle to access their finances during the short four-hour windows, twice a week.

The branch on Loch Street is only open between 10:00am and 2:00pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, with residents forced to queue outside of the building and onto the street in order to speak to a teller.

Frustration reached boiling point on Tuesday afternoon when locals were forced to wait for up to an hour in 41 degree Celsius heat on the town’s main street.

Some customers chose to queue in their cars parked on the main road in order to stay cool.

Former shire councillor and local Peter McCumstie said while the issue had frustrated to the community for some time, residents had reached the end of their tether.

“It’s coming to a head now, more than anything, when you see people lined up from the bank’s front door and out onto the street in 41 degree heat, waiting to get served in a bank that’s only open a couple of days a week,” he said.

“It’s getting to a pointy end where people are just fed up and beginning to wonder where to next.”

Travelling for hours

Resident Sandy Moore, who was in Tuesday’s line, said she believed the queue demonstrated the bank’s decision to cut its opening hours had had wide-ranging ramifications for the town’s vulnerable population.

Ms Moore said the town’s high population of elderly people meant many were unable to do their banking online, and people from remote communities often travelled for hours to make the bank’s narrow opening window.

“I think people should be able to attend their local bank for whatever their needs are — whether it be to get a bank loan, whether it be to do your banking, whether it be to draw money out with your debit banking. It should be available to us as a community,” she said.

Mr McCumstie said the bank’s restricted hours also meant some customers could not access financial advice in-person and businesses were forced to keep cash on their premises until they were able to deposit it.

“My fear is if we continue in this way people will be looking to bank elsewhere, and that may mean driving to Broome,” he said.

“That will deteriorate the level of business that the bank is doing in Derby and it’d close.”

Commonwealth Bank also has a branch in Derby, but Ms Moore said customers switching banks would only shift the issue in town.

An ANZ representative said the bank was open to hearing the issues in the region and staffing issues had forced the reduction of opening hours.

“But we are regularly reviewing this and working on alternative arrangements,” she said.

“As part of this ongoing work we are engaging with community leaders and relevant government members to ensure we have appropriate feedback from the community.”

By Hannah Barry (Original ABC Article)