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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

The Mutual Bank bucking branch closure trend

While rival banks are closing branches in the Hunter and beyond, it’s refreshing to see one financial institute bucking the trend.

Newcastle Permanent announced this week it was shutting the doors of its Fletcher and Medowie outlets, as well as Woy Woy, while also reducing the operating hours at Muswellbrook – along with Dubbo, Lismore, Orange, Grafton, Ballina, Bathurst, Mudgee and Armidale – from 9am to 1.30pm to reflect customer usage patterns at those locations.

It follows similar closures at Cardiff, Lambton, Newcastle University and John Hunter Hospital since 2017.

The Greater Bank terminated its Lambton and Jesmond branches, too, and the Commonwealth Bank has not reopened its Wallsend facility in the past nine months.

So, it’s uplifting to witness Hunter-based The Mutual Bank welcoming customers to a new site at Edgeworth Town Square.

CEO Geoff Seccombe said the latest branch re-established the organisation’s physical presence in Lake Macquarie, offering a convenient place for local members to do their business and personal banking.

“After the initial COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, The Mutual Bank temporarily reconfigured its network,” he explained.

“It made the difficult decision to close its Lake Macquarie branch at Glendale and reallocate staff to ensure the balance remained open.

“After the uncertainty and disruption of COVID-19 in 2020, The Mutual Bank’s network is back to full capacity with seven outlets.

“And, we’ve returned to Lake Macquarie.

“So, we’re maintaining our network and operating hours as part of our full-service banking approach.”

Edgeworth member service supervisor Carolyn Gibbs worked at the Glendale branch for four years.

Ms Gibbs said she and her team were enjoying being back in the branch helping customers one-on-one.

“Many of our members prefer to speak with a person when it comes to aspects of their banking,” she explained.

The branch and ATM are located just inside the centre, next to Subway.

It’s open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday and on Saturday between 9am and noon.

The member-owned financial institution has been serving Hunter residents since 1888.

It boasts branches in Dungog, East Maitland, Edgeworth, Maitland, Mayfield, Rutherford and Raymond Terrace.

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