WHEN the Beaudesert Times reported that yet another bank was scheduled to close at Beaudesert, there was a lot of feedback, with some saying the closures spelled the beginning of the end for the town and others blaming the public for not supporting local business.
To be fair on the banks, what other business would you expect to continue paying rent on a premises that attracts few customers on a daily basis?
Imagine if almost everyone did their grocery shopping online. How long would browsing the produce section at your local supermarket to sniff a mango or squeeze an avocado be an option?
Banks closing their physical doors makes more of a visual impact when it happens on the main street of a country town but it is a fact that most of us do our banking online. We are paid directly into our accounts and we can pay our bills using BPay, direct debit or a wave of the credit card and that is just the way it is.
For most of us, technology has made managing finances so easy we do not even have to remember a PIN number or sign our names to a transaction.
It is easy to think that the naysayers are old-school, old fashioned and perhaps just old. The government has even introduced a training program for older Australians to keep up with the times. It is called Be Connected and targets the 49 per cent of Australians over 65 who have yet to embrace digital technology.
It is not always a matter of age, though. Some people are simply not interested in taking any part of their private lives online. So what if they like the idea of using postage stamps and a bank book? Is there really anything wrong with that?
Whatever your feelings towards technophobes the fact remains, any Beaudesert ANZ or BOQ customers unable or unwilling to do their banking online will soon have limited options.
Banking is not the only thing to lose the personal touch. Try calling Centrelink, Telstra or Energex and you will either need a packed lunch for the wait or you will be encouraged to take your queries to a website, online assistance service or downloadable app.
Most people will continue to go about their business without even missing the banks in town but it is worth considering those who are being pressured to embrace technology against their will.