Concerns as bank announces hinterland branch closure
THE hinterland business community has been left reeling by the decision to close Suncorp Bank's Beerwah branch.
Letters from Suncorp have been distributed to businesses and personal account holders informing them of the decision to close the bank next month.
The letter informs customers they can still access branch services at Nambour and Caloundra.
Glasshouse Country Chamber of Commerce president Ursula Starkovsky said the October 14 closure was a shock to the community.
"The town of Beerwah and the surrounding region is going places and is expanding, so it is a surprise that the bank has decided to shut their doors, there must be a reason for it, but we don't know what that is at the moment," Ms Starkovsky said.
"This will have a big impact, especially on the business community as there are a lot of people banking with Suncorp and it will be time consuming do your banking at another branch or to change over to one of the other banks in Beerwah.
"The world doesn't go under because of this, but it is a nuisance."
Beerwah Hair and Beauty owner Vicki Heading said she was "absolutely stunned" by the closure.
"Suncorp was one of the original banks in Beerwah, so it would have a fairly large number of elderly clients, who are the people you always see in the branch, so I think this will make a huge difference to them as they might not know how to do internet banking," Ms Heading said.
"I am totally surprised that they are pulling out (of town) when so many businesses ar emoving in and the town is doing so well."
The Chamber has an account with Suncorp and Ms Starkovsky said the committee would be assessing their options once they knew more about the future services the bank has said they would offer.
Among them is a Bank@Post service, which allows customers to make deposits and withdrawals, check their account balance and pay their bills at an Australia Post office free of charge.
Suncorp Bank spokesperson said the decision to close the Beerwah branch was "not taken lightly."
"Following a review of the region, our data shows that customer behaviour has changed. They are relying more on mobile and online banking for their everyday banking," the spokesperson said.
"A wide range of factors were taken into account, including store usage and the alternative ways our customers can bank with us.
"Like all banks, Suncorp regularly reviews the location and services of its stores to ensure we are in the best position to support our customers and their changing banking needs."
The spokesperson said a physical footprint would remain a "cornerstone" of the bank's business strategy and the region continued to be a key market.
"Across the state, we are investing in new technologies, refurbishments, and employee training to ensure we provide customers with a choice of ways to do their banking; online, over the counter, or self-service."