Grant Oswold is concerned tourists and investors will overlook his hometown as the last and only bank prepares to close.
Grant Oswold is concerned tourists and investors will overlook his hometown as the last and only bank prepares to close. Kathleen Calderwood ROK

Impending closure: CQ businessman's fears as only bank shuts

CLERMONT ANZ will close its doors to business in about two months, prompting business owners and residents to look elsewhere for banking services.

The bank branch prepares to shut up shop on Wednesday, May 16, leaving the town without financial institutions.

Clermont ANZ is the last operating bank service in the town, following the closure of the Westpac agency about five years ago.

Owner of Clermont Pharmacy, Grant Oswald, said his business accounts were held by ANZ, causing issues with daily banking.

"My primary bank is the NAB, however I do hold a business account with the ANZ in which we do our daily deposits and EFT transfers," he said.

"This will be closed as soon as I can work something else out. We also used to hold some children's accounts with them but have closed those since the announcement.

"Most locals though have their primary bank as the ANZ and this is going to cause all sorts of issues, especially with the elderly and sporting clubs.

"Clubs and societies will also be affected as most of these require two signatures on anything they do, so they don't qualify for an ATM card. This will greatly restrict the ease of their business."

As a business owner, Mr Oswald has greater concerns about the way Clermont will now be viewed by investors and tourists, with the possibility of losing business because there is no financial institution.

"This sends a message to these people that Clermont is a dying economy - we are far from it but that is what the perception will be," he said.

"Once again, this sends a message to anyone who was thinking of visiting Clermont that they shouldn't bother because they haven't even got a bank."

When CQ News questioned ANZ as to why they were closing the branch, ANZ general manager North Queensland and Northern Territory, Tony Tapsall, said it came down to the increase in online banking.

"Customers have been changing the way they do their banking in recent years, with more of them using online options and ATMs rather than visiting our branches," he said.

"We have been responding to this change by making sure we provide the services our customers use most and reconfiguring our branch network to focus on where demand is greatest.

"We are consulting the staff who work at the branch and are supporting them through this transition while making every effort to find them redeployment opportunities with ANZ.

"Over the next few months we will be working closely with our customers, including business customers, to help make the transition as smooth as possible."

Recent announcements have revealed that the Australia Post branch in Clermont will provide banking services following the closure of ANZ.

 

Clermont Australia Post employees Cayce Smit, Sharon Ball, Leonie Fry, Kate Flohr (co-owner). Co-owner Natalie Finger is not pictured.
Clermont Australia Post employees Cayce Smit, Sharon Ball, Leonie Fry, Kate Flohr (co-owner). Co-owner Natalie Finger is not pictured. Contributed

ANZ is encouraging customers who still prefer face-to-face services to try the Bank@Post facilities at one of 3500 post office locations across Australia, including the Clermont Post Office. The service offers deposits, withdrawals and payments for customers using ANZ debit or credit cards, however Mr Oswald says deposits at the post office are capped for the majority of banks and he questions how major events like the Clermont show and the races will be able to access the amount of change they need and bank their takings.

Regardless of the many recent questions, Mr Oswald says the new owners of the post office, Natalie Finger and Kate Flohr, "have done a wonderful job in telling us the services that they can and cannot offer".

"A lot of what they cannot do is out of their control and I am sure that they will become an integral part of our banking services moving forward," Mr Oswald said.

"This is a wonderful initiative from them and I encourage all the local clubs to please support them."

The Clermont Community and Business group have been holding information sessions to keep residents and businesses informed.


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