SUBMISSION TO THE RURAL AND REGIONAL AFFAIRS AND TRANSPORT REFERENCES COMMITTEE BANK CLOSURES IN REGIONAL AUSTRALIA INQUIRY
This submission is on behalf of independently owned retail newsagency businesses that belong to the newsXpress marketing group.
More than 75% of newsXpress businesses are in regional Australia and most of these have been negatively impacted by bank closures.
Some of these businesses were, themselves, agents for banks, and have had the agency business taken from them, closed. In these businesses the impact has been even more considerable.
Many of the remaining 25% of our members, in city and suburban areas have also been impacted by bank branch closures.
The banks have been poor at communicating their closure decisions and vague in explaining reasons for closures.
While there has been less cash pass through the business in favor of electronic transactions in recent years, cash remains the biggest method of payment for goods and services sold by local newsXpress businesses. This is because of the type of products sold.
Bank branches are important for not only banking takings for but also for accessing banknote and coin change. With the average transaction value in our local retail businesses under $15.00, having available change is an important need.
newsXpress businesses impacted by bank closures have a higher cost of doing business as a result due to:
- The need to drive to another town to do the banking for the business. The drive time each way ranged from 30 minutes to close to 2 hours.
- Carrying more cash, especially smaller denomination notes and all denominations of coins, so the business does not run out between banking days.
- The need, for some, to switch banks because the usual bank for the business is now several hours away.
- Covering the cost of growing EFTPOS payments due to the fixed price nature of much of what is sold in a typical newsXpress business.
Bank branch closures have added on average for those newsXpress businesses impacted, additional operating costs of between $250.00 and $500.00 a week.
With many newsXpress businesses selling lottery products, the call on cash for the payment of prizes varies, and often cannot be adequately predicted.
In addition to the actual additional cost is additional pressure on the business owners since going to the bank no longer can be done in a few minutes. It needs to be scheduled, rostered for.
There is an emotional cost to bank branch closures, too, as there is more pressure on managing cash since the safety net of the local bank branch has been removed. This extends to the drive to the further away bank branch with cash takings from several days and worry about the safety of this compared to banking at the local branch across the road.
- A communal banking model. In a town where a branch is not viable, the banks could work together, maybe under a government overseen storefront, to offer banking services for all Australian banks.
- Mobile banking. Require the banks to provide regular access to their services through a mobile banking service that visits each impacted town.
- Easier agency access. If existing banking agencies could be enhanced to be agents for all banks this could open more local banking options.
- Reduced fees. Where banks withdraw, or have withdrawn, local bank branch services, require them to compensate business customers with significant fee reduction, to help them feel the cost of their decisions.
The newsXpress retail businesses impacted by local bank branch closures feel ignored by their banks, not listened to and unable to rely on a reasonable resolution.
They feel left to figure out what to do themselves so that the banks can maximise shareholder value.
While maximising shareholder value is the most important requirement for the board of any public company, banks often pitch themselves as being more community engaged and socially aware.
The closure of bank branches in regional Australia does not reflect care or concern for the regional Australian community.
Sincerely and on behalf of all local newsXpress member retail businesses,
Mobile: 0418 321 338.
newsXpress membership is $175 a month including GST. This provides access to a package of opportunities and services that members will tell you delivers financial and operational rewards worth much more than the cost.
Here’s what the $175 a month provides access to:
- Personalised to your business, based on your data, card department reset – often resulting in a 15% to 40% increase in card sales.
- Easy access to more than 100 preferred suppliers, including some exclusive to newsXpress.
- Access to new shopper traffic products that help you expand your reach.
- Better than wholesale pricing on many items.
- Better supplier payment terms.
- Supplier problem resolution. We actively represent you.
- Landlord negotiation. We help you negotiate.
- Low EFTPOS rates.
- Budget planning to help stabilise the business.
- Retail business refresh / reset to help those looking to change focus and attract new shoppers.
- Supplier product swag bags that enable you to touch and feel plenty of products without leaving your shop.
- Free supply of customer loyalty cards for card shoppers, plush shoppers and pop culture shoppers.
- Easy online selling for 3 products categories with out the need for you to have your own website.
- Half price Shopify website development from Tower Systems.
- Digital collateral. 100s of exclusive assets for your use each year.
- Exclusive to newsXpress seasons. To help you attract new shoppers.
- Social media collateral. Images, and videos ready for you to use.
- Team member training.
- Visual merchandising advice, training, and inspiration.
- Shop fit, and layout advice. We have helped save thousands of dollars.
- Timely access to award rates.
- Member meetings. Online. Via Zoom. Recorded for later watching too.
- Supplier launches / presentations. Filmed by us, for you.
- Private Facebook group. Talk about anything, any time.
- Online knowledge base. 150+ business management articles.
- We can be your sounding board on anything.
- Mental health support. We will help any way we can.
- We do more than this every day.
The $175 a month membership fee is paid each month, by direct debit. This is your membership fee. It pays in part for our services. We also receive rebates from suppliers. these are disclosed to members annually.
You are under no obligation to purchase from any newsXpress preferred suppliers.
In all of our years of operation, there has been no profit distribution from newsXpress. Everything earned by the group has been reinvested for the benefit of member businesses.