Wallan's NAB is among 114 regional branches to have their operating hours halved.

Opening hours have been drastically reduced across 114 regional NAB branches, including Wallan and Whittlesea.

The bank has described the reason for the reduction as ‘adapting to the greater use of online banking’.

From August 17, the branches will be subject to reduced hours, opening from 9.30am to 12.30pm for customers.

Outside those hours, bankers will support customers by phone and online chat as well as application processing.

NAB Group personal banking executive Rachel Slade said it was clear the face of banking is changing.

“Our branches continue to be a really important part of many local communities, especially for local businesses,” she said.

“On average, a quarter of transactions take place between 9.30am and 10.30am in our regional branches.

“Through this new model we can continue to be there to serve our customers and have meaningful conversations while also adapting to the way our customers are now banking.”

More than 90 per cent of the bank’s customer interactions now take place online or over the phone, while more than half of its customers bank online through its app or website.

NAB will provide its bankers at the branches with training and tools to support customers across phone and online chat, and support them through the changes.

“Our colleagues will learn new skills to support customers in new ways, including on the phone and online chat, which presents the opportunity for our bankers to work remotely at times when more of our customers want to do their banking,” Ms Slade said.

“We have shown this is possible through COVID-19 restrictions with more than 450 bankers trained in new skills to support customers in different ways.

“We think this move will strike that balance, keeping the doors open at 114 branches around the country, providing the opportunity for around 300 bankers to learn skills while we continue to serve our customers well.”

Wallan Chamber of Commerce secretary Janene Poynton said the new hours would make it difficult for NAB customers in Wallan, both businesses and residents.

“Businesses do not go and do the daily takings at 12.30pm, they do it at the end of the day. I know we’re trying to go cashless but some people will still have cash,” she said.

“If you can’t bank because there’ll be nobody there, you have to put it in the safe or take it home so that brings in theft and people might target your business.

“If you’re a resident and you bank with NAB and you can’t drive, how do you get to Kilmore to do your banking when there’s no bus service?

“What I would suggest is our local businesses and residents should go and give the Bendigo Bank a chance because they’re open five days a week and they give back to our community.”

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