National News

ANZ bank expects to close more branches

ANZ expects to close further branches over the next two years and is considering using smart ATMs and pharmacists to provide banking services in those towns.

ANZ has closed 110 branches in the past decade, including 35 this year.

CEO Shayne Elliott said there was no prescribed list of further branch closures but some will be shut.

"I imagine that we will have to consider further closures in the next two years," he told the banking royal commission.

ANZ is the only one of the big four banks to drop the [email protected] arrangements that allow people to do basic banking at Australia Post offices.

Mr Elliott said ANZ would have had to pay a $25 million-a-year fee and its effective cost per transaction would have risen to almost $20.

He said the bank was considering alternatives for communities after a branch closure.

He suggested there may be alternative providers who remain in those towns who could provide basic banking services, such as pharmacists.

"We are looking at different solutions using technology, using what we would term a smart ATM, to be able to leave machines that can cope with most of what customers need in a town."

Mr Elliott admitted financial reasons played a role in the branch closures but argued ANZ was responding to shifts in consumer behaviour.

"Essentially, we are confronted with a dilemma where we have shops and a distribution network with less and less people in it, and therefore at some point they become uneconomic."

Mr Elliott said there was very little correlation between what happened in a branch and the economic value to the bank.

"We end up in the situation where some of our customers, home loan customers, are essentially subsidising, if you will, through us the provision of a branch network, because they're not correlated.

"And so that causes us a real dilemma."

Over the past decade, ANZ has closed 55 branches in inner regional areas, 44 in outer regional, six in remote Australia and four in very remote areas.

Mr Elliott did not know in how many cases the ANZ outlet that was closed was the last bank branch in a town.

© AAP 2018