National Australia Bank closes Kapunda branch after 156 years of banking

Kapunda and nearby residents have this week been dealt a “blow” with just one staffed bank branch now left in the town.

On Thursday, at 1pm the doors to the historic NAB building at Main Street was closed with staff immediately vacating the premises and signage removed.

The impressive bluestone/sandstone structure was the first ever bank established in the town in 1862 in support of the town’s mining boon. 

According to Kapunda Business Alliance (KBA), the closure is expected to leave a huge gap in the region.

It has further meant the loss of two jobs in the town.

KBA secretary Bill Adams, who was on site to witness the closure, shared his disappointment.

“Sad is an understatement; it is a blow to a town which has an excellent future with unprecedented developments underway or on the drawing board,” he said.

This includes the potential return of copper recovery.

Mr Adams was joined by KBA chairperson Deane Rohrlach who together believe a town without a bank is not a good look as well as an inconvenience on its people.

They refer to the town as a popular tourist destination, which also links visitors to both the Barossa and Clare valleys.

The town is now left with Bank SA which currently operates at part-time capacity.

An ANZ branch, also established in the main street, “was closed several years ago,” according to Mr Rohrlach.

NAB SA general manager Gregg Harris shared how the bank was also “sad to be closing the branch”.

“While our branches continue to be an important part of what we do at NAB, the way our customers are banking has changed dramatically in recent years,” Mr Harris explained.

“In Kapunda, 78 per cent of our customers are also using other branches like Gawler and Nuriootpa.”

However, NAB would not disclose to Barossa Herald how many customers would be affected by the closure.

In June, letters were sent to customers notifying them of the changes.

Information was also sent assisting customers where to continue banking, whether at a nearby branch, online, over the phone and at Australia Post located in the town.

While Mr Harris understood “some” NAB customers like to bank in person, the alternative was to bank at Australia Post offices, which offer banking on their behalf.

With the official closure of the Burra NAB branch late last month, Mr Harris said, “we don’t speculate on future branch closures”.

“As with any business, we review how our customers are using our branches.”

Over the next few months NAB’s senior team will be visiting towns and communities across the country to hear directly from our customers and members of the community about how they can be a better bank.

Yet, dissatisfied with the response, KBA is keen to take control, seeking to achieve a five-day-a-week banking facility in the town.

“To achieve this it is up to both businesses and residents who bank elsewhere to support Bank SA,” Mr Adams said.

“It is not the intent of Bank SA to close.”

“We at KBA acknowledge it is a time consuming exercise to transfer accounts, but this is the only way to achieve our aim of having a daily banking service.”

“We urge everyone concerned to give this request earnest consideration.”

“Totally Locally is the way Kapunda will survive and prosper,” Mr Adams said.

This story Big bank closes town’s branch | PHOTOS first appeared on Barossa & Light Herald.