By Laura Michell
Shoppers, traders and Hume council are calling on the Commonwealth Bank to reopen its Dallas branch, saying the decision to close it during a global pandemic was jeopardising the health and safety of customers.
The Dargie Court branch was closed in May alongside 113 other branches nationwide to allow the Commonwealth Bank to redeploy 500 staff to call centres and online operations to help meet demand from people seeking financial assistance as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the time, the Commonwealth Bank said the closure would be “temporary”, with customers advised to use the branch at Broadmeadows Central instead.
Broadmeadows Progress Association assistant secretary Sonja Rutherford said the Commonwealth Bank was forcing people into busy shopping centres where it was difficult to maintain social distancing.
The association has started a petition calling for the bank to be reopened.
“It is unbelievable that a bank closure could occur at this time of COVID-19 when social distancing and crowd avoidance is of such utmost importance,” she said.
“People in Broadmeadows and Dallas…are faced with a second lockdown with all the difficult but necessary restrictions including staying away from large shopping centres.”
Hume councillor Geoff Porter has called for the Commonwealth Bank to meet with council, traders and the community to understand how the closure is impacting residents.
He said the branch closure was taking business away from the shopping strip and had left traders with nowhere to get change.
“I would like to see that decision reviewed and obviously reversed so people can be safe in their travels and support local businesses,” Cr Porter said.
“All the people in the local area want is a leg-up to support them in their day-to-day living. They don’t want to be travelling through this dangerous period of time.”
A Commonwealth Bank spokeswoman said measures were in place to enhance the safety of customers and employees at Broadmeadows.