Businesses in Clare are taking a stand against the Commonwealth Bank’s decision to close their branch in town.
After the shock announcement last week, a petition urging CBA to rethink its decision has been put on display at businesses including Av-A-Chat Cafe, Tim Siv’s TerryWhite Chemmart, the Taminga Hotel and Mitre 10.
The petition was created by the South Australian branch of the Finance Sector Union.
SA/NT secretary Jason Hall was in town last week helping to spread the message.
“We think that essential services to rural communities is something that CBA should be focused on,” he said.
“Closing a branch in a regional hub is basically them abandoning those regional communities.
“I think that is the message they are sending the people of Clare, and they are also telling their staff it is profits before people.”
With the branch scheduled to close on Friday, June 22, there is just under 11 weeks for the petition to persuade CBA to rethink its stance.
Mr Hall encouraged members of the public to sign the petition.
“We have got a bit of time up our sleeve to try and build some community support,” he said.
“It cannot hurt us and even if we cannot save the Clare branch, it will send a message to CBA about making decisions about other regional locations.”
Tim Siv, who is also an elected member of the Clare and Gilbert Valleys Council, said he was disappointed by CBA’s decision to close the Clare branch.
“I know people say unless you use, it you lose it,” he said.
“I said to a good customer of ours that if that is the case, maybe the best way to action it is to consider moving banks and taking your business elsewhere to another bank which is willing to invest in our township.
“Actions will create some sort of change, I understand they probably see it from a corporate point of view but unless we do something about it then they are not going to do anything about it.
“I guess we will question the loyalty CBA has to the township and if they are not loyal to us then maybe consider moving banks.”
Mr Siv is a customer with Commonwealth Bank however he said he was considering a switch to a different bank.
“If we can petition and get enough people on board to actually say if you want to do that to our town then we will consider encouraging people to use other banks who are willing to invest in the township,” he said.
Clare and Gilbert Valleys Council chief executive officer Dr Helen Macdonald believed the closure would have a negative impact on elderly customers and those without internet access for online banking.
“This will also have an impact on the tourism industry and on small business as well,” Dr Macdonald said.
“It is apparent that the Commonwealth Bank does not have the interests of the rural community at heart.”
Mr Hall is planning on making another trip to Clare in the near future in the hopes of getting other businesses in town on board to help promote the cause.
Businesses who may wish to house a petition can do so by contacting the SA/NT branch of the Finance Sector Union on 8229 6542 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.