Regional Australia lost 113 “big four” bank branches in 2021, as well as being told another four branches would close their doors in early 2022.
The locations of the closures included 45 towns that were stripped of their last or only major corporate bank.
The biggest cuts were made by ANZ with 37 closures, followed by NAB and the Commonwealth with 35 and Westpac 10.
It brings the number of big four branches shut in regional Australia since the peak of the network in 1975 to 1725.
According to figures compiled by The Regional, this represents a 61.5 per cent cut to the major banks’ regional footprint since that time.
The 117 closures mark a 9.8 per cent reduction in remaining branches since the start of 2021 when the overall network contraction was sitting at 57 per cent.
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ANZ reduced its remaining regional branch network by 16 per cent in 2021.
It ended the year with 194 branches in regional Australia from an original network of 615, taking it to an overall cut of 68.5** per cent.
This makes ANZ the least represented 'big four' bank in regional Australia.
Since the start of 2021, the Commonwealth reduced its remaining regional branch network by 9.4 per cent.
It now has 336 branches in regional Australia from an original network of 650, taking it to an overall cut of 48 per cent.
NAB has reduced its remaining regional branch network by 10 per cent in 2021.
It now has 316 branches in regional Australia from an original network of 760, taking it to an overall cut of 58 per cent.
Westpac reduced its remaining regional branch network by 4.2 per cent in 2021, taking it to an overall cut of 70 per cent. (777 branches down to 230.)
Regional NSW was the hardest hit by 'big four' cuts in 2021, with 39 branches closed.
This was a 9.6 per cent loss of the state’s regional banks since the start of 2021.
NSW has lost 60 per cent of its regional bank network since 1975, falling from 922 branches to 367.
Regional Victoria lost 37 'big four' bank branches in 2021, a 14.6 per cent cut to its remaining network.
It brings the number of banks lost in regional areas since 1975 to 68 per cent of the original network (678 to 217).
Proportionally, this is the biggest cut of all states in 2021.
Regional Queensland has lost 24 'big four' bank branches in 2021, a 7.9 per cent cut to its remaining network over 12 months.
The state has lost 55 per cent of its original network, down from 623 regional bank branches to 280.
Regional Tasmania has lost five 'big four' bank branches in 2021, an 11.9 per cent cut to its remaining network.
It has lost 66 per cent of its original bank network, falling from 109 branches to 37.
Regional Western Australia lost seven 'big four' bank branches in 2021, an 7 per cent cut to its remaining network in a year.
It now has 93 'big four' banks, down from 225, a cut of 59 per cent.
Regional South Australia lost three 'big four' bank branches in 2021, a 4.3 per cent cut to its remaining network over 12 months.
South Australia remains the hardest hit of all states in terms of regional bank closures with numbers falling from 228 branches when the network was at its peak to 67, a cut of 71 per cent of the state’s regional bank network.
The NT lost its first regional 'big four' bank since 1975 with the closure of the Westpac branch at Jabiru, bringing its regional bank network to 16.
Towns that have lost their last bank
Over the course of 2021, 45 towns were told they were losing their last 'big four' bank, including five that had two 'big fours' close branches.
Of these, 23 did not have a minor corporate, mutual or franchise bank to fall back on. NAB has left 13 towns in this position.
The 44 towns that lost their last/only 'big four' bank were: Apollo Bay, Ballan, Balmoral, Bargara, Bellingen (two banks), Beverley, Blayney (two banks) Bunyip, Capella, Cobden, Dorrigo, Dungog, Gordonvale, Guyra, Hamilton Island, Heathcote, Kaniva, Kondinin, Jabiru, Loxton, Monto, Meningie, Mittagong, Molong, Monbulk, Mooroopna, Mortlake, Mossman, Oakey, Port Fairy (two banks), Queenstown, Red Cliffs, Rochester, Rutherglen, St Marys, Terrigal, Texas, The Entrance, Three Springs, Tumbarumba, Uralla, Wagin, Wee Waa (two banks), Wyalkatchem and Yarram (two banks).
ANZ left four towns without a 'big four' bank – Beverley, Loxton, Mortlake and Mossman – and was neck and neck with the Commonwealth to pull out of Port Fairy and with the NAB in Wee Waa.
The Commonwealth left 14 towns without a 'big four' bank: Apollo Bay, Ballan, Blayney, Bunyip, Dungog, Mittagong, Molong, Port Fairy, Red Cliffs, Rochester, Queenstown, St Marys, The Entrance and Yarram.
NAB left 24 towns without a 'big four' bank: Balmoral, Bargara, Bellingen, Capella, Cobden, Dorrigo, Gordonvale, Guyra, Heathcote, Kaniva, Kondinin, Meningie, Monbulk, Monto, Mooroopna, Oakey, Rutherglen, Texas, Three Springs, Tumbarumba, Uralla, Wagin, Wee Waa and Wyalkatchem. In three of these (Capella, Kondinin and Three Springs) the NAB was the only 'big four' bank the town had ever had.
Westpac left three towns without a 'big four' bank: Jabiru, Hamilton Island and Terrigal.
As of December 30, 2021, 740 towns in regional Australia no longer have a 'big four' bank.
Of those, 14 have lost all four 'big four' banks, 58 have lost three, 172 have lost two and 496 one.
Towns now down to last bank
Closures by ANZ have put Cohuna, Stawell, Wongan Hills, Huonville and Salamander Bay in a position where there is only one 'big four' bank now left to serve the community.
Nine towns are now down to their last 'big four' bank after closures by the Commonwealth in Alexandra, Bellingen, Finley, Harvey, Rainbow, Tatura, Terrigal, Timboon and Pittsworth.
Murgon, Narromine and Yarram are now down to their last 'big four' bank following closures by NAB.
The closure of the Westpac branch at Sorrell leaves the town with just one 'big four' bank.
These closures put the national tally of towns now down to one 'big four' bank at 160.
Minor corporates and other banks
Nine minor corporate bank branches closed in regional Australia in 2021.
The Bendigo and Adelaide Bank shut four, bringing its regional network down to 78 branches from 82, a five per cent cut.
Suncorp-Metway announced two regional branches would close and St George, BankSA and Bankwest each closed one.
The Regional is also aware of nine mutual banks (four Greater banks, four My State Bank and one Bank of Australia) and one franchise (Bank of Queensland) that were announced as closures.
*Figures updated January 11, 2022.
**Larger percentages rounded to nearest solid number