A MEETING has been held with Westpac officials as the bank prepares to close the local branch and ATM service at Moree in February.
Westpac announced in October, plans to close its bank services, retaining only the Agribusiness service.
Moree mayor Mark Johnson and council's general manager Nick Tobin met with Westpac's State and District Managers together with their head of Government Relations this week.
Locals were furious at decision to remove a bank branch presence from the community, leaving many vulnerable with no access to banking services, other than digitally.
"This removal of people's banking choice, with zero community consultation will leave a big impact on customers and small businesses who are now left without access to the fundamental aspects of banking," mayor Johnson said.
"Although our preferred outcome was to retain our local Westpac branch with full services that will help us grow and support our local community, now and into the future, the reversal on this decision by Westpac doesn't seem imminent".
Westpac customers were told just weeks ago of a decision by the banks management that services will close on February 24.
The Westpac Banking Corporation has had a long-standing presence in the Shire with the bank being founded in Moree in 1876.
Mayor Johnson said to meet the needs of future growth, the Moree Plains Shire needs the support of leading banks.
"After the COVID-19 pandemic and droughts, we have exciting opportunities to ensure the growth of the Moree Plains, five years of construction in the pipeline, and $1.5 billion dollars' worth of infrastructure projects and investment across the Shire," he said.
"Having these financial services removed will greatly impact our community, create implications for businesses needing to retain larger amounts of cash and leaves customers facing an hour's drive to the nearest Westpac office.
"With the focus on migrating customers to digital banking and automation, older customers and vulnerable members of our community who use bank branch services will be significantly affected by this shutdown.
"I believe that Westpac hasn't done their due diligence and is showing no consideration for rural Australians who are progressively being disadvantaged by not being able to manage their own finances in a bank branch."
The Commonwealth Bank, Regional Australia Bank, ANZ and Suncorp are among others with branches still open in Moree, but with some now only opening until about midday.
A Westpac spokesperson previously said they were shutting the Moree branch due to a significant shift in people "choosing" to bank online which has resulted in a decline in the number of customers using branches across their network.
Make sure you are signed up for our breaking news and regular newsletters
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.