Bank branches closing in Redlands is no surprise

IT is disappointing news that Suncorp is about to close its Cleveland CBD branch.

This is especially so as it comes on the heels of other bank closures at Victoria Point and Redland Bay.

It is yet more evidence of so-called digital disruption that has left few businesses and authorities unscathed.

Suncorp and all other banks say more and more people are conducting their business on the internet whether by computer or mobile phone.

That surely would be true.

Regardless, banks have been happily closing branches for decades. Before phone banking, branches were being closed as people started using ATMs. This allowed staff numbers to be reduced, ensuring better profits for banks.

Resident Virginia Wood has raised salient points about the Cleveland closure, especially regarding the elderly who may not have transitioned to the internet and their need for personal banking help.

Moreover, elderly are further hamstrung if they are not so mobile and cannot travel long distances to use post office banking services.

As Wood points out, main street institutions like bank branches and post offices have long been a sign of a prosperous local community.

This issue has been enormous in country areas where people are forced to drive from one town to another for services when branches close.

With major tenants gone, it impacts on the look of main streets and reduces pedestrian traffic. Complicating this situation is the impact of shopping malls on traditional main streets as they continually draw shoppers away.

Anecdotally, Cleveland’s main street seems to have seen something of a resurgence over past months although it is difficult to ascertain whether this is related to the Redland City Council’s efforts at a CBD make-over early last year.

Technology is marvellous but has a cruel side as those who cannot adopt are abruptly left behind.

Think of all those trades that are long gone. There is not much call for telegram delivery boys these days nor drays or pick and shovel men.

Change is constant and none of us should expect it to stop and as far as digital disruption is concerned, it is hard even to see it ending.