The president of the Rochester Business Network hopes people will continue to bank locally when major bank ANZ closes its branch in the town later this year.
Glenda Nichol said it was “very difficult” to say what the impact of the April closure would be, but she hoped people and businesses would move their accounts to the remaining banks and strengthen them.
Bendigo Bank and Commonwealth Bank will be the only banks in town once the ANZ branch closes at 2pm on April 24.
The announcement of the closure came in the same week Murray Goulburn shut down its factory.
Ms Nichol said the loss of the branch would present a headache to businesses that did their banking exclusively with the ANZ.
People would not want to travel to Echuca, Bendigo or Shepparton for their banking, she said.
“Banking is a very big part of business… You need to have a good relationship and good access,” she said.
Ms Nichol also holds concerns that ANZ customers outside Rochester who choose to do their banking in the town will instead travel to another town, taking any other business or shopping they might have brought to Rochester with them.
Major’s Supa IGA owner and Business Network vice-president Brad Major said while he did not bank with ANZ, the looming closure was disappointing for staff and customers.
Mr Major said it was a “sign of the times” and while branch closures in small towns were not uncommon, it was not something that was welcomed.
But he said other towns that had lost bank branches continued to “kick on”.
The bank building is up for sale, and Ms Nichol hopes another business will open its doors there instead.
ANZ has cited changing customer behaviour as the reason for the closure.
An ANZ spokesperson said more people were using online options and ATMs to do their banking than visiting branches.
“Of our customers who have Rochester as their home branch, only 21 per cent of them currently use the branch with nearly 57 per cent of them preferring internet or mobile banking,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson said an ANZ ATM would remain in Rochester, and existing customers could use the ‘Bank@Post’ service at the post office.
They also said the bank was trying to find the branch’s three staff other opportunities within the company.