ComBank Closure in Macedon Square

by STEPHANIE CARAGLANIS
19th February 2021

LAST YEAR, The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) made the decision to temporarily close their branch located in Macedon Square, Lower Templestowe to address growing COVID-19 related concerns.

In a letter addressed to Manningham Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Day on January 21, 2021, CBA stated they would not re-open the Lower Templestowe branch due to a shift in customer behaviours — citing that more customers have opted to do their banking online and over the phone.

On January 28, 2021, Councillor Stephen Mayne brought the motion to the monthly Manningham Council Meeting to undertake an advocacy campaign with the CBA to delay or reverse this decision.

Councillor Mayne felt strongly that the closure of the Lower Templestowe branch would be detrimental to the community space, considering Macedon Square is a bustling hub for Manningham residents.

Increasing concerns of potential loss of foot traffic in the centre grow, as the February closure date looms ahead.

“Bank branches drive visitation to local activity centres so it is important to fight to retain the last bank in any centre,” said Cr Mayne.

“Macedon Square is the number one community meeting place in the Ruffey Ward that we are considering spending two to three million dollars on improving in the period ahead.

“I am hoping our engagement will lead to a change in decision here.

“We are publicly signalling to the bank that we are disappointed with this decision,” Cr Mayne said at the January Ordinary Council Meeting.

The council resolved by majority vote to pass the motion.

The Bulletin contacted Councillor Mayne for further comments and updates regarding the motion.

As Councillor Mayne stated in the January council meeting, the council understands that technology is changing and internet banking is becoming the norm.

However, it is still important to look after the needs and interests of everybody in the community, specifically our elderly population.

“Manningham has one of the oldest communities in Victoria so it is particularly important to look after their needs, and many of our elderly residents still like to visit bank branches,” he said.

In a letter addressed to Councillor Mayne on the February 1, 2021, a final verdict on the matter had been reached.

“CBA has written [to the council] confirming the permanent closure, blaming it on a 34 per cent drop in branch activity in recent years,” he writes.

The ATM at the Lower Templestowe Branch will only remain until 12pm on Friday, February 19, however CBA advises that there are 12 nearby ATMs within 5km of the Macedon Square branch.

Cash withdraw services are also available within nearby supermarkets, service centres as well as Australia Post, who also extend their services to deposits and bill payments.

The letter from CBA goes on to say:

“While our decision is final regarding the closure of Lower Templestowe branch, we recognise that some older customers do prefer to do their banking face to face and this is one of the reasons why CBA is proud to maintain the largest branch network in the country.”

As of February 19, the nearest bank to Macedon Square, CBA or otherwise, is located at Westfield Doncaster, The Pines East Doncaster, Tunstall Square Doncaster and Bulleen Plaza, all of which are at least 2.5km away.