Another bank turns its back on Ingham

HINCHINBROOK MP Nick Dametto says it’s clear Ingham is being abandoned by the major banks after Suncorp confirmed it would be closing its local branch this August.

In what is a low blow for customers and bank staff, the Katter’s Australian Party MP said he was gutted by the decision, which comes shortly after ANZ shut its Ingham branch late last month.

“As if the closure of one major bank branch isn’t enough, now locals have to cop another following suit and abandoning them,” Mr Dametto said.

“Suncorp were quite happy to support local residents when industry and agriculture was doing well in our region and there was good money to be made from loans to customers.

“They’ve taken millions of dollars in profits from us during the good times but clearly, they’re not returning the favour when times get tough. Instead these banks would rather just pack up and walk away.

“It’s an absolute disgrace.”

Mr Dametto said he was concerned elderly residents in particular would struggle to adapt to online or phone banking, while post office banking would only offer a limited number of services.

“When it comes to dealing with your bank, nothing beats being able to talk face-to-face with a teller at your local branch, who can directly assist with any financial matter,” he said.

“Outsourcing such a service tells me that the hierarchy of Suncorp, just like ANZ, is showing no compassion for their local customers and are solely focused on the bottom line.”

Mr Dametto said his main concern was for Suncorp’s Ingham branch staff and their families as they processed the news.

“This is a difficult and trying time for staff and their families and I hope they can find suitable employment within the community. We have lost too many families due to company corporate downsizing in the regions,” he said.

“We do not know if staff will be offered alternative employment with Suncorp, but regardless of the outcome, those jobs have been lost to Ingham.”

Mr Dametto said bank branch closures often resulted in families having to move away from the area to find work which meant less money in the town and less employment opportunities.

“It may not mean a lot to big cities but to a centre the size of Ingham it affects the entire community,’’ he said.

“This is just a further erosion of services in country Queensland which is occurring right across the board. “I believe the big banks have a responsibility to provide a service to small country areas.”

Mr Dametto encouraged both government and private enterprise to stimulate investment in the region in a bid to generate more economic activity that could help convince banks to keep their local branches.

Nick Dametto MP