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5.2     MAYORAL MINUTE - Closure of the Macksville Branch of the Commonwealth Bank............ 2     


Ordinary Council Meeting                                                                                               27 October 2016


ITEM 5.2      SF873              271016         MAYORAL MINUTE - Closure of the Macksville Branch of the Commonwealth Bank


AUTHOR/ENQUIRIES:    Rhonda Hoban, Councillor         




The Macksville branch of the Commonwealth Bank will close on Friday 25 November 2016 after which date the bank will only have one branch in this local government area, being the branch at Nambucca Heads.


For the information of the Council, I have written to the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Commonwealth Bank expressing Council’s concerns about the matter.





1   That Council note the representations made in relation to the closure of the Macksville Branch of the Commonwealth Bank.


2   That, in relation to the outstanding report on options for Council investments due in February 2017, Council staff consider the option of avoiding all investment products offered by the Commonwealth Bank, unless the Bank reverses its decision and retains the Macksville Branch in Macksville.






The Council can make representations in relation to the matter.


According to Council’s investment report to 31 July 2016, the Council had $30.611 million invested including floating rate notes with the Commonwealth Bank of $500,000.  This has a maturity date of 18/01/21 so it would seem problematic to withdraw the funds.  However the Council could choose not to take out Commonwealth Bank term deposits or floating rate products.





I have received the attached letter from Area Manager of Retail Banking Services for the Commonwealth Bank advising me of, “some changes to our branch network”.


It is advised that the Macksville branch will close on Friday 25 November and as from Monday 28 November, “the Commonwealth Bank Macksville branch will become part of our Nambucca Heads branch”.  The letter goes on to mention the alternatives of electronic banking, using Australia Post for transactions or using “nearby” branches at Nambucca Heads or Kempsey.


Of course most people are familiar with the alternatives but the letter makes no mention of the significant number of branch customers who cannot (for whatever reason) readily access those alternatives. 


Everybody knows of friends or relatives, often aged and/or with disabilities, who are incapable of using electronic banking and who cannot readily arrange travel to either Nambucca Heads or Kempsey for more complex banking business.


Australia Post is not a substitute for a local branch as the Australia Post staff do not have detailed product knowledge, whether it be the bank’s current offers on term deposits or other services.


The disheartening aspect of the Area Manager’s letter is that there is no acknowledgement or recognition of the fact that there will be a reduction in the level of service provided by the bank and that it will have most impact on the disadvantaged.


There is no evidence in the letter that the Bank has considered community service or social obligations.  And accordingly it is difficult to escape the conclusion that the only motivating consideration is “bottom line” profit.


Juxtapose this with media reports in August of this year that despite concerns from the Commonwealth Bank CEO about “bank bashing”, the bank had managed to grow its profits by 3 per cent to $9.45 billion in the year to 30 June 2016.


It may explain the negative community sentiment in relation to the operation of our big banks, of which the Commonwealth is the biggest (ASX market capitalisation).


But even from a commercial perspective, the decision may be short sighted given the Macksville branch services a catchment of at least 7,000 people and continues to demonstrate reasonable growth prospects with new housing, new industry and a new Catholic primary school.


For the information of the Council, I have written the attached letter to the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Commonwealth Bank.


I also note that the Member for Cowper has issued a media release critical of the bank’s decision and urging the bank to reverse its decision.


It is also pleasing that local businesses have started a petition urging the bank to reverse its decision.





36468/2016 - Advice of closure of Commonwealth Bank, Macksville



35979/2016 - Foreshadowed Closure Of The Macksville Branch



Ordinary Council Meeting - 27 October 2016

MAYORAL MINUTE - Closure of the Macksville Branch of the Commonwealth Bank


Ordinary Council Meeting - 27 October 2016

MAYORAL MINUTE - Closure of the Macksville Branch of the Commonwealth Bank




Enquiries to:     Cr Rhonda Hoban

Phone No:       6568 0214

Mobile:            0408 661 412


Our Ref:            SF873




18 October 2016




Mr Ian Narev

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer

Commonwealth Bank Group Head Office

Ground Floor, Tower 1

201 Sussex Street

SYDNEY   NSW   2000

EMAIL:  CARE OF MEDIA: (02 9118 6919)


Dear Mr Narev




I have been advised that the Commonwealth Bank is proposing to close its Macksville Branch effective 25 November 2015. 


For your information the Bank's Macksville Branch provides services to our immediate catchment area of 7,000 people residing in the towns of Macksville, Scotts Head and Bowraville as well as their rural hinterlands.  The next closest Branch is at Nambucca Heads which is a further twelve kilometres distant.


More generally the Nambucca Valley which includes Macksville, is a relatively disadvantaged community on the mid north coast of New South Wales.  We have an ABS socio economic indicator (SEIFA) ranking of 8 on a scale where 1 is the most disadvantaged community in NSW and 153 is the most advantaged.  Factors contributing to the Valley's SEIFA ranking are a relatively high proportion of aged people receiving financial support through Centrelink as well as relatively high unemployment (10%). 


The closure of the Bank's Macksville Branch will certainly be a major issue for those aged people in our community who cannot (for whatever reason) use electronic banking.  It is these same people who often do not have access to transport to travel to Nambucca Heads, the next closest Branch.  You should also be aware that there is no frequent public transport between the two towns. 




Mr Ian Narev

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer


18 October 2016



I am not aware of how the Bank balances its financial outcomes with community service or social obligations but, on the face of it, it seems that the welfare and wellbeing of our senior residents is being discarded to the altar of bottom line profit.


I have not had the opportunity to speak to the staff of the Branch to ascertain the impact of the closure on their lives as I have only been advised of the foreshadowed closure through Bank customers.  It will mean the loss of approximately four jobs from our town. 


As the Mayor of the Nambucca Valley I would appreciate a response from yourself detailing the Bank's considerations.  Without prejudging your response, I would foreshadow strong representations from myself and our community concerning the proposed closure of the Macksville Branch. 


Yours faithfully








cc         Macksville Branch Manager

             Commonwealth Bank

             5 Cooper St, Macksville NSW 2447