APRA has its annual publication of the ADI (banks, building societies, credit unions etc.) “Points of Presence” out. “Points of presence” is, for the non-banking junkies out there, APRA’s terminology for branches, head offices, ATMs etc.
Apparently there has been a slight drop in branch numbers over the last year, with the total number of points of presence up due to an increase in the Bank@Post (giroPost) outlets.
The definition used of a “branch level of service” is interesting:
Branch level of service comprises all service channels that meet the following minimum criteria:
· accepts cash and other deposits (including business deposits) and provides change;
· facilitates the keeping of accounts for customer access, including the provision of account balances;
· opens and closes accounts;
· can facilitate or arrange the assessment of the credit risk of existing and potential customers; and
· offers additional services in the one establishment such as financial services, business banking and specialist lending.
Depending on how you read the definition, this is a fairly high level of offering – some local “branches” I know of would find it difficult to pass the last two tests.
Anyway – knock yourselves out. There is a fairly good amount of data here to support any number of arguments about the retreat or advance of banking presence in Australia.