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  • Writer's pictureDale Webster

Make up your mind CBA, you can't have it both ways

Updated: Jul 11, 2023

ABOVE: The report in which the Commonwealth lists places like the Gold Coast and Geelong as regional.

THE Commonwealth Bank is at it again.

While to be congratulated on its decision to put a three-year moratorium on regional branch closures in place, it has dragged its co-publisher of the quarterly Regional Movers Index report into an embarrassing situation again by refusing to count their top destinations for regional migration as … regional.

The Regional Australia Institute uses Commonwealth Bank data to compile the report, which has listed the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Geelong as some of its most popular destinations for people choosing to leave city life behind in preference for a regional location.

But the Commonwealth confirmed that when it comes to branch closures, it is choosing to follow a Bureau of Statistics classification that conflicts with the Bureau of Statistics classification it and the Regional Australia Institute use in the Regional Movers Index.

The decision leaves Australia’s three biggest regional cities – Geelong, Wollongong and Newcastle – as well as the Gold and Sunshine coasts and places such as Bateau Bay, Gosford, Maitland, Murwillumbah, Raymond Terrace, Katoomba, Bacchus Marsh and Mandurah still vulnerable to the loss of their Commonwealth banks until 2026.

They are among 490 branches the Commonwealth could choose to close at any time.

ABOVE: All Commonwealth branches that are vulnerable to closure.

Nerang on the Gold Coast lost its Commonwealth Bank branch on May 26 despite a commitment given to the Senate inquiry into regional bank closures by the Commonwealth that it would not close any regional branches until after the committee reported to parliament at the end of the year.

The branch was closed despite the Gold Coast being listed by the Commonwealth and Regional Australia Institute as the third most popular regional migration destination in Australia that quarter.

The Commonwealth has also confirmed that its Bankwest branches, that are listed as Commonwealth branches in the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority's authorised deposit-taking points of presence statistics, are not inlcuded in the moratorium.

In good news, branches at Junee and Bright, which had been given a reprieve until December, are now safe for another three years.

Statement from the Commonwealth Bank

"Confirming branch locations are defined at an industry-level, in line with APRA reporting requirements and other ABA member banks.

Branch locations are defined in line with the Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA+), which is recognised as a leading indicator of remoteness in Australia. ARIA+ is used by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) for its Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) Edition 3, and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) for its annual ADI Points of Presence report. ARIA+ is an objective measure of physical distance of populations to services."

The Regional Australia Institute has been contacted for comment.

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