Newcastle Permanent has dismissed a claim that it’s abandoning the western suburbs, after Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery took aim at the financial institution in NSW Parliament this week.
The Labor MP criticised Newcastle Permanent for the recent closure of its Lambton branch, which came on the heels of shut-downs at John Hunter Hospital and the University of Newcastle.
“Lambton residents and business owners have been left aghast by this decision by the Newcastle Permanent,” she said.
“Despite being some of the most profitable companies in Australia, financial institutions have abandoned the people in the western suburbs by closing vital services like this one in Lambton.”
But Newcastle Permanent CEO Terry Millett said the institution had seven branches within 5km of the former Lambton office on Elder Street and had 30 across the Hunter.
He said the decisions to close the Lambton, John Hunter and university branches were motivated by the need to “invest our members’ funds efficiently and responsibly”.
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“Over the past few years the Lambton, John Hunter Hospital, and University of Newcastle branches have experienced a significant decline in over-the-counter transactions and local customer visits,” Mr Millett said.
“While we value our loyal customers at these branches, many of our customers preferred the convenience of being able to manage their everyday banking online and be supported by our local customer contact centre.”
Mr Millett said the organisation was “committed to the people of the Hunter”, but technological advances had shifted the way people did their banking.
He said the ATM would be retained at Lambton.
“Keeping this branch open is no longer sustainable when we have to invest in providing services to customers that prefer digital channels,” he said.
Ms Hornery wrote to Newcastle Permanent to ask for the closure to be reviewed.
“These institutions love to spruik their credentials as being local and friendly but don’t back it up when they close local branches and advise customers to stay loyal and just get online,” she said.
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