IT'S HOPED a new regional taskforce will find solutions for keeping banking services in country towns after widespread cutbacks left rural communities questioning the industry's loyalty.
The federal government announced its Regional Banking Taskforce on Friday, which will bring together the big four banks and peak bodies to assess how branch closures have impacted country communities and identify possible solutions.
Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson said it's about time there was a renewed commitment from the banking industry to country people.
"I'm a strong advocate for having local branches in country towns," he told the Leader.
"People have been loyal to their bank in their town for so long, they've built up a very strong, dedicated, loyal relationship with their bank in a country town and then the bank shuts up shop.
"I think it shows in some instances disloyalty and there needs to be a reintroduction of a commitment from banking to regional NSW.
"I'll be looking forward to seeing the criteria for the taskforce, because certainly the towns in my area, we want our regional banks."
National Australia Bank's (NAB) announcement it would close its Guyra and Uralla's bank branches left the community reeling this year.
Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall labelled it a "bastard act" and urged NAB customers in the two towns to consider immediately changing who they bank with.
With the branches now shut, residents will need to travel long distances do face-to-face banking at the closest branch in Armidale.
The taskforce will be co-chaired by government ministers Michael Sukkar, Bridget McKenzie and Senator Perin Davey and include senior representatives from ANZ; Commonwealth Bank of Australia; NAB; Westpac; Bendigo and Adelaide Bank and Bank of Queensland.
It will hold its first meeting in early November and will release an issues paper for public consultation.
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