Another bank bites the dust with BOQ set to close Beaudesert branch

CLOSING DOWN: Jeanette White says businesses are suffering because of difficult road access and lack of local interest. Photo: Larraine Sathicq
CLOSING DOWN: Jeanette White says businesses are suffering because of difficult road access and lack of local interest. Photo: Larraine Sathicq

ANOTHER bank is to close its doors to customers with the Bank of Queensland deciding to cease operations in Beaudesert.

Head office confirmed the closure and a spokesman said the decision followed a review of the branch network.

“We apologise to our customers for any inconvenience this closure may cause,” he said.

“This decision was made following the consideration of a number of factors and changing customer preferences.

“The last day of operation will be Thursday, November 8.”

He said BOQ Beaudesert customer accounts would be moved to BOQ Jimboomba, where the current Beaudesert Branch Manager will be permanently based.

“Customers can still conduct their banking in any BOQ branch, online, over the phone, via the RediATM network and through Australia Post’s Bank@Post services,” the spokesman said.

Beaudesert resident Jeanette White said yet another business closing down does not bode well for the town.

“With the bypass going in we have already lost a lot of passing trade – truckies don’t stop in town for breakfast and I just think we need to make the town more accessible to people driving through,” she said.

“It’s going to be ghost town if people don’t start supporting local businesses.

“It’s a case of use it or lose it and the banks are closing because people don’t go in them.

Ms White said she would rather stand in line for an hour than use the ATM or take her business to another town.

“I refuse to drive to Browns Plains and I think many locals feel the same –  it’s a sad time when everything is closing because of technology,” she said.

“Some of us prefer face to face transactions and we need to show more support here – we could even lose the hospital if people don’t start using what we have in this town.”

Mayor Greg Christensen agreed that local businesses rely on support from locals but said financial institutions need to balance their obligations to customers and shareholders.

"There is enough publicity currently to be aware that banking is going through a significant period of reflection and reform,” he said.

"The rapid emergence of digital banking options is changing the face of banking.

Cr Christensen said banks have an obligation to provide services to their customers and an obligation to properly protect the resilience of the bank itself on behalf of shareholders.

“Major banks represent a significant component of many large superannuation funds and everyone wants good returns on their super funds,” he said.

“More generally, there are many reasons why businesses close in any community, some because their service structure is no longer relevant or effective, others because consumer behaviour has changed.

“It has been pleasing to see the number of new businesses opening over the past two years within Beaudesert and, from the feedback I've received, they're enjoying solid results.

“These are businesses that have thought through solutions in today's market and are shaping solutions to service that and be ready for tomorrow.”

Cr Christensen said council ran workshops from time to time to help businesses ensure they can continue to be competitive and relevant but he was disappointed that these were often poorly attended.

"Part of our program over the next 12 months is to revisit the Vibrant and Active Towns and Villages master planning process to find a successful solution for the Beaudesert Town Centre,” he said.

"The evidence is strong that council's best role is in creating the right infrastructure environment as our partnership for business confidence in these precincts.

"However, there is a role for the community.

“If the community won't use local businesses for their purchases, no business modelling can create an effective business outcome, so we all have a part to play."