The Commonwealth Bank branch in Rylstone will close in May

The Rylstone branch of the Commonwealth Bank will shut down in May, with the bank blaming a 40 per cent drop in usage for the closure.

The Commonwealth Bank confirmed the branch would close its doors on May 18, giving customers three months to prepare for the changes.

However Mid-Western Regional councillor and Rylstone Newsagency owner Peter Shelley said it was “short-sighted behaviour” that would hurt the town.

“It’s another kick in the teeth to a small country town by a major organisation,” Cr Shelley said.

A spokesperson for the bank said the ATM on Louee Street would continue to operate while a lot of banking could be completed at the Australia Post outlet.

“The decision to close our Rylstone branch was not an easy one, and we know some members of the community will be disappointed,” the spokesperson said.

“We have seen, year after year, that fewer customers use this branch.

“​Over the past five years, the number of transactions completed at our Rylstone branch have declined by 40 per cent.

“As a result, we have made a decision to close our Rylstone branch.”

However Mr Shelley said the bank never really showed commitment to the town, imposing short operating hours on the local branch that impacted the branch’s performance and forced people to use other methods.

“They have fudged the figures to work for them and show people aren’t using the branch but this means people will have to travel an hour away to do a lot of their banking.

“For the businesses that remain in town it’s a major inconvenience.”

The bank spokesperson said they had given long notice of the closure “so we can talk with them about their banking options.”

“Customers can complete personal and business banking transactions such as withdrawals, deposits and bill payments, including passbook accounts, during normal business hours at the Australia Post outlet located less than 400 metres from the current branch location.”

The spokesperson said the bank’s mobile lenders would also be available to meet with home loan customers at a location that suited them.

The Commonwealth declined to say how many staff would be affected by the closure but Cr Shelley said he thought three people worked there.

“They will probably offered jobs somewhere else but that will be an hour or more away so those people could leave town,” he said.

“We saw that when Westpac closed three years ago, we lost some lovely people who had to leave town for job opportunities.”

Mr Shelley said every time a business left the town it had a major impact on everyone who was left.

“It’s just another nail in the coffin,” he said.